The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak is now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. This microscopic virus is baffling even the strongest of countries and crippling the world economy. As followers of Jesus Christ, though, we desire to be led by faith, not by fear. Let us not live in fear and allow this pandemic to diminish the lasting hope we have in our Lord and Savior.
Still, while we shall not be ruled by fear, our faith does not call us to foolishness. Thus, we want to be faithful to God’s Word, which includes using common sense and the wisdom He has given us.
When we gather for family groups and worship Sunday morning, then, we will take some measures to avoid any unnecessary exposure to possible sickness. While we do not believe that should include neglecting our corporate gatherings (unless you are sick and directed by your doctor to do so), we do believe we can take common-sense measures to better protect ourselves.
Obviously, this includes our encouragement to wash your hands regularly, including before and after you meet with others; using your arm to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough; etc. These are things we should be doing anyway.
There are a few additional things we can do in corporate fellowship and worship, though, to be wise in the midst of this pandemic…
- We will bow, forearm smash, or fist bump instead of shake hands with one another. In fact, you can even just smile and say hello. Handshakes are not necessary to properly greet someone and ask how they are doing.
- We will not pass the offering plate but will instead encourage people to give online, give via the free MyRichland App, or drop their offering in the plates before or after the service.
- When we have communion again, we will not have the corporate handling of the Lord’s Supper trays. Instead, people will be invited to come forward and grab their own bread and juice without touching trays or plates. Those Christ-followers who are still uncomfortable doing so, of course, will be welcome to abstain.
As always, we have hand sanitizer in our children’s ministry areas and in the fellowship hall, so people can conveniently sanitize their hands (or marinate their entire arms) before and after serving children, as well as before eating and drinking on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Can we be assured of good health? No, and we never will be on this side of eternity. Rather, we use wisdom but recognize this life does not come without risks. Yet, we will seek to honor and serve our Lord with the faith and assurance that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
Please pray that we will honor God in our response to this crisis, seeking to live for Him and seeking to love those around us.
If you have any questions or concerns, please be sure to contact us. Otherwise, we hope to see you, as usual, on Sundays and Wednesdays. To God be the glory!
Blessings in Christ,