Dear Harrisburg Baptist Church
We are all aware of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation that is unfolding around the world. The progression of the virus is continuously in the news and on social media. I want to provide some insight into how we, as Christians, might think about the virus and speak to the potential impact it might have on our church in the coming weeks and months.
As a church, we are not in the best position to be a source of information or medical advice concerning the coronavirus. If you would like to know more about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control website (Click here for CDC). For medical advice, we recommend taking advantage of the blessing that our city provides through the many qualified professionals we have here in our beloved city. At this point, the goal is to communicate to you that we are thinking ahead and striving to be proactive, while providing direction in ways we can respond with faith and trust in a sovereign God who reigns eternal on His throne.
4 Ways You Can Respond:
1. Don’t panic... pray.
I read an article earlier this week by Todd Wagner who wrote, “Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way.” As Christians, we are not anxious, nor are we people who panic. It is good and right for us to be cautious, but with our trust in the Lord, we are to act wisely while at the same time taking our concerns to the Lord.
Matthew 6:33–34 (CSB)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Philippians 4:6 (CSB)
6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
2. Be proactive by making every effort to wash your hands and sanitize regularly.
Medical experts advise that hand-washing is the best way to protect yourself and others from disease-causing microbes. Thankfully, there are stations with hand sanitizer every week here at HBC. We will continue to provide this as supplies allow, and we will be making every effort to wipe down and sanitize our facility each week.
3. Pay close attention to your personal health.
At the printing of this letter, there are no confirmed cases in MS. But, each of us should be mindful of the symptoms of COVID-19. According to the CDC, symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath. It's most dangerous for the elderly and smokers. Fever and cough, as well as shortness of breath/respiratory difficulty, are the critical symptoms for someone to self-quarantine or seek testing. (Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.) Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus, or if you have recently been in or to an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
If you or a family member are diagnosed with the coronavirus, please contact the church with that information so we can pray for you and follow recommended protocols.
4. Trust the Lord and share your faith.
Psalm 37:3 (CSB) says, “Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.”
Even amid a global health scare, we as Christians have a true and steady calling to be faithful to Christ in all things. Our security is not in our circumstances, and our circumstances are always an opportunity for the gospel. A virus, like COVID-19, is a daily reminder of the fallen world in which we live. It is not the first time we have faced a new or deadly sickness. Nor is the coronavirus the most deadly concern our world is facing. As you watch the world react to this crisis—itself a stark reminder of our mortality—don’t neglect to share the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15). Share how he rescued you from the universal epidemic of sin and the penalty of death. Share that your hope is not found in remaining healthy this side of heaven.
At present, we are not canceling any of our upcoming services or activities. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of those who know significantly more about this than we do. I want to thank you in advance for your help.
We will pass on more information to you as needed in the coming days and weeks. For additional ways to receive information from Harrisburg, you can follow the church on social media platforms and download the church app to your phone or tablet.
By His Grace,
Rob Armstrong, Sr. Pastor
Harrisburg Baptist Church Tupelo, MS