Letter to Cornerstone RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most of you, if not all of you, probably have sources of information that you trust regarding what the World Health Organization is now defining as the coronavirus pandemic. A pandemic does not mean that millions are dying across the planet. It means that a specific disease has crossed regional borders and is present globally. It is not the effect of the disease but the presence of the disease that gets labelled. Please keep that in mind.
There are numerous, almost myriad, prophets, preachers, and kings making statements about this now widespread virus. Some have valuable information worth knowing and considering. Some are simply charlatans attempting to make a name for themselves at the expense of others. No crisis ever lacks its wise men and fools.
So, what about Cornerstone? Here is the approach I am taking:
- I am not, at this time, attempting to press this occurrence into a Bible prophecy model. I do not know if this is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and will not be making any definitive statements along that line at this time.
- I am thinking that, as a way of daily living, prevention is the best medicine. So there are preventative measures available should you attend a service at Cornerstone. These are not new measures. They have been there all along. We are simply drawing more intentional focus on them. We have hand sanitizer available in the foyer and in the all the restrooms. The restrooms all have hot water, antibacterial soap, and disposable paper towels (which are thrown into trash cans with disposable liners), as the CDC and the MN Dept of Health recommend.
- In the event you find yourself in the more vulnerable social category relative to the virus, and you find comfort in remaining home and practicing the recommended social distancing, do so, with love and your family’s blessing. Every choice we make to sacrifice our convenience for the sake of others has the potential to be a reflection of the heart and conduct of Jesus, who gave up heaven, temporarily, to come to earth, the cross, and the grave as an act of infinite love for others. As long as I am able, in the strength and power of the Spirit, to serve you and the Lord, (and until local, state, or federal authorities declare otherwise for the sake of community health) we will hold services at Cornerstone that will be LiveStreamed to the website at www.cscchurch.com.
- We will practice reasonable and fearless precautions out of love for one another.
- I will not be shaking hands nor asking the congregation to do so when we meet.
- I will be suggesting to the gathered congregation that we make full use of the ample space when being seated.
- We will avoid using commonly held items, like the communion plates and the offering plates, for the time being. You can give through the website at www.cscchurch.com or we will leave the baskets available and you can leave your offerings in them at any time. You can also mail your offerings. Please note that we will still need your support regardless of how you choose to handle this health crisis.
- For the time being, Sunday school, worship service, and other meeting times will not be changed. Whether or not you attend is up to you. When an instance of coronavirus is recorded in Lake or Cook County or in Thunder Bay, ONT, we will move to the next step of action, which may be rescheduling or cancelling services and meetings. Please note, however, should a request/requirement come from a civil authority, we will comply as the Bible instructs us to honor and follow our leaders. Even if we all can’t meet together, I can still access the LiveStream and we can still participate together. Being apart, should it come to that, will not mean being disconnected.
- I see no need to be either fearful or foolish. We have been given sufficient warning to choose wise practices rather than fearful responses. This is the time when grace and faith may shine as we actively seek ways to love one another and love our neighbors at this time. Be aware of how people in your church family are doing. Make plans for helping and being helped, if it comes to that. Wash your hands. Cover your cough or sneeze. If in doubt, stay home. Send texts, make calls, use email, watch the LiveStream. Stay connected.
- If you have more questions, please ask them. As you can see I am taking a pragmatic approach to this crisis. However, any time there is a global, and even regional and local, disaster there is an opportunity to raise theological and metaphysical questions for people. You may hear, “Why does God allow this?” This is not an unreasonable question, but is one, unless God makes it divinely clear, that will probably remain unanswered. Far more likely will God reveal His heart, His nature, his love and justice and righteousness and glory in the lives of His people than He will reveal His specific intent. His overarching intent in all things is to reveal the glory of His Person and the worthiness of His sovereign glory to be worshiped and loved. And so, His love and glory will be revealed in and through you as you love Him and one another during this crisis.
Be healthy. Be safe. Be holy. Love one another.