California’s Rock Church went solely online for its Sunday worship services due to the coronavirus scare, and the megachurch’s pastor, Miles McPherson, said in his sermon that carefulness was needed, but with faith and not fear. He also interviewed a health official and two mayors about the pandemic.
We have to be careful in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis, which is “serious and real,” McPherson stressed in his sermon.
In California alone, there are so far 335 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.
But “God doesn’t want you to be filled with fear,” he said. “He wants you to be filled with faith.”
He cited 2 Timothy 1:7, which reads, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" and explained each key term.
“Fear” means having “a heart filled with dread and panic.” Power means “the ability to exert the spiritual force necessary for change.” Love means “affection towards God and others.” And having a sound mind means making “sensible, intelligent and reasonable decisions.”
We need to walk around with the faith that God can not only keep us safe but also help us to help others, the pastor said.
We don’t need to pray for the coronavirus to go away, but for God’s presence, he added.
He asked one of the special guests, Dr. Wilma Wooten from San Diego County Health and Human Services, about the symptoms of COVID-19.
Wooten said the symptoms include fever, cough and an acute respiratory syndrome that could include pneumonia. Additionally, doctors would also ask if the person showing these symptoms has been to one of the affected regions like Wuhan in China or Italy or Iran, or has been in contact with someone who has the disease.
If you don’t have the symptoms, she noted, that means “you cannot transmit it to other individuals.”
Pastor McPherson said he had heard that you could transmit the virus even before you develop symptoms. The health official called it a rumor.
“That makes me feel good,” he said.
But, she added, that’s what’s known as of now, as the research is still going on.
According to the CDC, "some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest)."
The pastor asked that if 18,000 Americans have died from the flu this season and the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus is much lower, why are drastic measures being taken?
Dr. Wooten responded, “This is a new virus and we do not know what it really can do and will do.” So the attempt is to prevent it from spreading until vaccines are developed, she answered.
Another guest at the service, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, said people in his county were asking what they should do with their kids now that the schools are closed — should they take them out to malls or theaters? But they are missing the point, he said, as we need to avoid interacting with others temporarily. This is so that “not all the people get sick at the same time.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, also a guest, said the city was targeting the most vulnerable section, especially the homeless population, for extra precautions on a daily basis. They’re all “fellow San Diegans,” he said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that the state’s 108,000 unsheltered homeless people would be prioritized for mitigation policies, with a significant push to move them indoors, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The pastor asked the mayors what services can the church provide in the city?
“The government can’t solve all problems,” said Wells. “If you have an elderly neighbor, go shopping for them,” he added, giving an example of what local residents can do to help. And it’s not a good time to take your kids to see grandma and grandpa, as elderly people are vulnerable.
Newsom has asked Californians over the age of 65 to isolate themselves from others.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected at least 170,000 people and killed more than 6,500.
Many other churches have also closed their doors this month and are streaming services online.