Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves shared a moment of prayer and three passages from the Bible with constituents via Facebook Live Sunday as he encouraged churchgoers to figure out how they can help their at-risk neighbors during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“One of the things that this has brought out, this COVID-19, is the fact that we have been [in] very difficult times,” the 45-year-old Reeves said before opening up the video in prayer. “But we also know that we have some people across our state who are working very hard to make a difference.”
Reeves, who attends a Methodist church, selected verses from the Bible that he shared with the viewers. The first passage he recited was 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
“We are troubled on every side yet not distressed. We are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed,” he recited.
Reeves, who assumed office this January, assured his constituents that there are people working day and night to distribute supplies to first responders and hospitals.
“That is going to be one of the challenges of the coming days as the number of cases continues to grow that we ensure that we get the necessary supplies to the places where they need to be,” he explained. “I am committed to do that.”
Reeves continued by sharing the second passage he picked out: John 16:32-33.
“Behold, the hour cometh, yes, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me,” he recited. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The governor challenged his constituents to have a “shared sacrifice” in the way of “stepping up to help your friends and help your neighbors.”
“We don’t have all of the data yet. But we do know that there seems to be — in terms of the rate of deaths of this particular virus — a high-risk category: those over the age of 60 as well as those who are actually have compromised immune systems,” he explained.
“What I want to encourage the high-risk categories to do is to stay home. What I want to encourage all the rest of our Mississippi friends and family to do is think about delivering groceries to your elderly neighbor. Think about talking to your fellow churchgoers and determining who within your church may fit into that category and may need an extra hand.”
Reeves said that a long-term problem that could arise is whether there will be enough hospital beds and healthcare facilities to “deal with the challenges that are before us.”
“If we are able to keep those highest risk categories healthy, I believe that can help us long term,” he said.
Reeves then said a closing prayer, calling on God to guide President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, leaders in Mississippi, healthcare workers and the 3 million Mississippians.
He shared one final Bible verse: John 3:16.
“I want to end by reading a verse that most all of us memorized long ago. You’ll notice that it doesn’t speak to Baptist or Methodist or Pentecostals or Catholics or any other denomination,” he said. “John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Before logging off, he encouraged Mississippians to continue worshiping online or by listening to TV services around the state.
“But please continue to pray for your leaders and your fellow Mississippians,” Reeves urged.
There are over 55,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine’s coronavirus resource center. So far, there have been 320 confirmed cases in Mississippi.
On Tuesday, Reeves announced plans to sign orders that could limit gatherings, dining in restaurants and visiting nursing homes and hospitals, according to The Clarion-Ledger. Reeves told reporters that the orders would not mandate a state lockdown.
Nearly two dozen states have enacted stay-at-home orders, asking people to stay at home unless they are deemed essential employees or need to leave their homes to perform necessary tasks like buying food or medical supplies.