We have been hearing over and over from our government that over the course of the next 15 days our country will be moving toward her worst-case scenario of having the infectious virous COVID-19. It is because of the looming increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 we are constantly being reminded to wash our hands, not to touch our face, and to practice “Social Distancing.”
What is social distancing? Social distancing occurs when we remove ourselves from very close contact with others. So, considering the challenge of COVID-19, how far should we distance ourselves from others? What would be a good distance to maintain between ourselves and others in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
It is being suggested that we keep at least 6 feet in between ourselves and others. Why so far apart? Scientific research says that the droplets from our mouth or nose can travel up to six feet when we cough or sneeze into the open air. Is it any wonder why when we do cough or sneeze that we really should be employing the tissue or at least coughing or sneezing into our elbow?
So, again, in order to dramatically hinder, if not prevent, the spread of this very infectious virous we need to practice the suggested social distancing of keeping at least 6 feet between ourselves and others in addition to maintaining clean hands and not touching our faces – referring to our eyes, nose, and mouth.
Being mindful of the minimum 6 feet distance between us and others, keeping clean hands, and not openly coughing and sneezing into the air… though for some this may seem a bit too much or too much work to purposefully put these things into practice each day, let us be reminded that there are those among us who suffer from a weakened immune system and other underlying health issues that are not seen by the naked eye and that are put at a much greater health risk if they were to be infected with COVID-19.
Something that we ought to keep in mind is that as Christians, the Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 12 calls us to love the LORD our God and our neighbors – those within the realm of our reach/or influence.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30 – 31 (NKJV)
We are called to love the LORD our God with every fiber of our being… from the very depths of who we are. Jesus tells us in John 14 that our love for Him and the Father, our love for the LORD our God, is demonstrated through our obedience to His commands.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” – John 14:21, 23 (NKJV)
So, when we set Mark 12:30 and John 14:21, 23 side by side we easily see that the way we show our love for the LORD our God is by obeying/or keeping/or doing/or practicing His commands. When we take that into consideration, we see that when we practice loving our neighbor, those within our reach/or realm of influence… we are demonstrating our love for God.
One of the ways we can demonstrate our love for God and neighbor in the midst of our current COVID-19 challenge is by keeping the suggested 6 feet distance between us and others and by practicing very good hygiene… again washing our hands, using a good hand antiseptic that contains at least 60% or more alcohol, and keeping tissues on our person so that when we do cough or sneeze we can do so in a tissue.
Again, if we are without a tissue we should not sneeze or cough into the open air… we should cough or sneeze into our elbow. We need to remember that there are those among us, within our family of Faith, within our biological families, and numbered among our friends that do indeed have a compromised immune system and other underlying health issues that makes contracting COVID-19 a serious issue for them.
Those of us who do not have a compromised immune system or other underlying health issues such as bronchitis may not be thinking about those whom we could infect and therefore make life very miserable by our negligence to practice the suggested social distancing and hygiene practices.
This brings us to the temporary changes to our worship services in response to our current challenge with the current COVID-19 outbreak. The temporary changes we are implementing will remain in effect until Monday April 6th.
Yesterday, March 17th, Governor Whitmer signed an order banning any gathering that consists of 50 or more people. While it would be nice to say “due to the size of our congregation we need to alter our morning and evening services…” we can indeed continue meeting for morning and evening worship. That is so long as we practice the suggested social distancing of 6 feet, maintaining clean hands, and not sneezing and coughing into the open air.
So, while our morning and evening services will go on unchanged, unless circumstances call for them to the altered, our other services of worship and church activities will be postponed starting today through April 6th. The following services and activities that are postponed are as follows:
- Sunday School: Lord willing will resume in April
- Mid-Week Prayer and Bible Study: Lord willing will resume in May.
- Bi-weekly Bible Study: Lord wiling will also resume in May.
- Monthly Prayer Breakfast: Lord willing it will resume May 9th.
- Monthly Fellowship: Will resume as previously scheduled on Sunday July 19th.
I have had dialog with other assemblies like ours and they are making the same changes – postponing all other services except for morning and evening services. So, we are not alone regarding the temporary changes we are implementing.
We are most certainly being challenged with the COVID-19 outbreak. Let us pray for one another and for our country. May we be reminded that none of this has taken God by surprise. He is the Author of not only our salvation but also world history (Isa. 46:9 – 11). Nothing comes to pass without Him allowing it to come to pass and as for what He does allow… we have the wonderful promise of Sacred Scripture that He will use all things for our good. That is, He is working all things together, even our current challenge with COVID-19, with our best interest in mind (Rom. 8:28).