On Sunday February 16th, much of the evening service of the Milan church of Christ was devoted to praying about the coronavirus (covid 19) - its victims, their souls, their families and the alarming impact of the virus upon China and possibly the rest of the world.
At that point, we had little idea as to how quickly the virus would spread globally, nor its insidious effects on economies, the stock market, people's thinking, habits and decisions. But now that nearly 1500 cases have been confirmed in the United States, the entire climate of our nation is rapidly changing. Cancellations of professional, college and high school sporting events, concerts, parades, commencement exercises, and the progressive quarantining of health and other Facilities may only be the beginning.
Even churches across the country have been drastically affected. Commonly used metallic surfaces such as door handles and communion trays are being covered with fabric or plastic. Multiple tables or stands with hand sanitizer are being placed throughout the buildings. Increasing numbers of congregants avoid shaking hands or embracing others; some are wearing gloves and/or protective masks to services. Thousands are refusing to take communion during the service due to fears of handling the plates. (Many churches are distributing disposable communion kits to alleviate such fears.) In some cases, the evening services, fellowships and even Bible classes are being cancelled until further notice. Many churches are preparing to offer more of their services online.
Although the church of Christ in Milan (along with thousands of other congregations around the world) has not initiated dramatic changes in response to the virus outbreak, the following suggestions are advisable.
1. Pray daily about this pandemic. Pray for the victims, and those who are suffering from the effects, such as loss of jobs, etc.
2. If you are ill, please remain at home until your symptoms disappear.
3. If you are particularly susceptible due to age or other health issues, consider wearing gloves or possibly a protective mask when you attend a service.
4. Carefully observe routine precautions such as keeping your hands washed, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and making certain to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
5. If you are uncomfortable shaking hands with others, just smile and say, "I love you!"
6. Trust in God, no matter what. He will get us through this.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding..." Pro. 3:5
Jesus, always Jesus!