This week we heard news of the first British death from coronavirus. I know that many will be wondering how to react to the virus outbreak, so I thought I'd write some thoughts to give my perspective.
There is so much misinformation at a time like this, with rumours spreading like wildfire and confusion over what the facts actually are. For answers to some of the basic questions about the virus I found this article from the Guardian's science correspondent really helpful. There are also regularly updated pages from the Government and the NHS which I'd recommend consulting if you want to know the latest official advice.
It's easy in a moment like this to feel powerless, to take our eyes off Jesus and to have them fixed on the impact of the virus. Let us turn our anxiety and uncertainty into prayer.
- Pray for the healthcare professionals, government officials, event organisers and others who are having to make incredibly difficult difficult decisions. Pray for God's wisdom for them, even if they don't know him.
- Pray for the spread of the virus to be halted, for healing for those who are sick, for protection for those caring for those who are infected and for comfort for those who have lost loved ones.
- Pray for success for the scientist looking to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
- Pray that around the world the church will be at the forefront of caring for those impacted by the virus, and that church leaders will have wisdom as they lead through this.
- Pray for God to somehow use the virus, which is a symptom of our fallen world, to bring good into the world.
There is a line to be walked between under reacting and pretending that the virus isn't happening, and over reacting and allowing it to control our lives. Unless the Government advice changes we will continue to do everything we do as a church including our Sunday gatherings, small groups, youth events and social justice ministries. We’ll be investing in extra hand sanitiser over the coming week, and we'll leave it up to you whether you prefer to hug, shake hands, fist bump or have no physical contact with others when you greet them. We do have a team who meet regularly to review what we are doing, and will react appropriately and communicate widely if there are any changes to what we are doing.
This may sound a bit weird, but as we've been focussing in Lent on revival I've been praying that we'd see the good news of the gospel spread in the same viral way that the virus has been spreading. It's interesting how even with all our scientific knowledge and the ability to isolate groups and quarantine individuals the virus has spread so far and wide in such a short space of time. While I pray for the evil of the virus to be contained, I pray for the message of Jesus to become so infectious that nobody can stop it spreading through every nation and people group on earth.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions then please ask.