Peace and Practicality in a Pandemic
For the last couple of months, we have been in a sermon series exploring the fruit of the Spirit; the characteristics God is producing in our lives by the presence of his Spirit. A few weeks ago, we explored the fruit of peace. Now let’s be honest, on a global and societal level 2020 has been somewhat short on peace! We’ve seen extensive drought give way to destructive bushfires, followed by a flurry of flooding—only in Australia! And now the coronavirus is spreading its way across our globe, taking lives, filling our news feed, and emptying our supermarket shelves. It’s hard not to feel at least a little bit anxious.
For this reason, it’s important for us to ground ourselves in the sovereignty of God and the promises of his word. Theologian R.C. Sproul was fond of saying: “There is no maverick molecule if God is sovereign.” His point being that God reigns and rules over everything and every molecule in this universe. This truth can be a great comfort in times of crisis. This is also why God’s word can say to us: “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). It’s telling that in this verse fear is contrasted with love and self-control because when we become fearful we naturally become unloving and self-focused. We naturally look to our own needs rather than the needs of others. So, let’s together ask the Spirit of God to fill us with the fruit of peace so that we don’t become slaves to panic or fear and so that we continue to serve others in love. If you’d like to explore further what a Christian response to coronavirus looks like, I would recommend the article ‘Dear Christian, When The Pandemic Hits, This Is Our Time’ by Akos Balogh over at The Gospel Coalition Australia website (au.thegospelcoalition.org).
It’s also important for us, however, to take some practical steps as a church community to do what we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to protect the health of all those in our community, including our older members. As a community, we want to be alert to these matters but certainly not alarmed.
We would encourage you to be aware of the latest updates and advice from the Department of Health (www.health.gov.au), including travel restrictions, and to follow common sense and good general hygiene measures, including regularly and thoroughly washing your hands (for more). Additionally, if you or your children are unwell and you are at all concerned, please remain at home and seek medical advice. Let’s also show understanding if someone chooses not to shake our hand or give us a hug on a Sunday. We can still suitably show our affection by means of a wave, a nod, or even a fist bump. We will also take some internal precautions to do what we can to sensibly manage any risks, including measures around how Lord’s Supper is prepared and passed out. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3)
Grace and peace, Adam
Department of Health Update
The Australian Government recently announced that coronavirus travel restrictions have been extended as follows:
- High risk countries: Mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea
- Moderate risk countries: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand
The protocols in place for all people travelling overseas at this time are:
- If you have been in or transited through one of the high risk countries:
- Self-quarantine for 14 days from date of departure from a high risk country.
- If you begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, cough or respiratory illness during your period of self-quarantine, you should seek immediate medical attention. Please call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention your travel history before you arrive.
- If you experience any other symptom during your period of self-quarantine, you should also seek immediate medical attention. Again, please call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention your travel history before you arrive.
- If you have been in close contact with someone who already has novel coronavirus:
- You need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the confirmed case.
- If you begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, cough or respiratory illness during your period of self-quarantine, you should seek immediate medical attention. Please call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention you’ve been in contact with someone with novel coronavirus infection before you arrive.
- If you experience any other symptoms or illness, perhaps due to chronic disease, during your period of self-quarantine you should also seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention you’ve been in contact with someone with novel coronavirus infection before you arrive.
For further health advice please visit the Department of Health website.