Brothers and Sisters,
This week the World Health Organization decided to classify COVID-19 as a global pandemic. This designation, the continued increase of cases around the world, and the spread of the virus among a few prominent Americans yesterday has certainly increased awareness and preventative response measures. You may have heard that ASU announced all in-person classes will transition to online courses despite no known cases.
What about Church on Mill? The last several weeks, the staff and elders have been discussing and making initial plans for how to respond if people in the Valley began transmitting the virus. At this early juncture, thankfully Arizona in general and Tempe in particular have not been affected. That could of course change. If it does, we will send a follow-up email with more information about possible changes in church programs and activities. For now, here’s three suggestions:
1) Turn from fear to confident trust – This is an important moment for Christians to have and display a supernatural courage in the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-10). He has numbered our days (Ps 139:16). He promises inner peace as we cast our anxieties upon him (Phil 2:6-7). He renders even death as gain (Phil 2:21). While we do not know whether any of us will get COVID-19, we do know the Lord is in control and he is good. May we, brothers and sisters, show this confident trust in the Lord! Maybe the Lord will even give us opportunities to share the gospel in the coming days.
2) Show love by taking commonsense steps to prevent transmission – The things our mothers taught us as children are important. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home if you have fever or a cough. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. These are simple ways we can love one another and our city. The CDC prepared a helpful resource on these and many more practical steps you can take personally.
3) Pray – Pray for protection for healthcare workers around the world. Pray that the good news of Jesus Christ would spread in these very unique days. Pray for the poor who often have so little access to good healthcare. Pray for the members of Church on Mill in specific ways: Any reminder of our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) and brevity of life (Ja. 4:14), is good for our souls (Ps. 119:67,71). It reminds us that we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19). It reminds us that our lives are found in Him (Phil. 3:9). It reminds us where our true and lasting treasure is found (Phil. 1:21; Mt. 13:44, 45-46) and to fervently pray for ourselves, and others, with these realities in view.
There are no known cases of the virus among the people who make up Church on Mill. Sunday morning gatherings, as well as all other activities, will proceed as normal for now. This includes the cleaning measures already taken weekly, especially in the preschool and children’s buildings. Should you become ill, need prayer, or plan to not come to corporate worship on Sunday, would you please let us know by responding to this email?
We are working on a live-stream solution to share the sermon in both worship gatherings starting this Sunday. Be watching the website and social media for an update as the specifics get resolved in the next few days.
May our good God use all things for good, even COVID-19, and may his people walk in love.