In 1878 half of the Memphis population fled as a Yellow Fever epidemic ravaged the city. Today we face a much less virulent, but highly concerning disease, the Covid-19 Coronavirus. As Christians, how should we wisely prepare and protect ourselves, our loved ones, and others around us, and how should we selflessly serve the sick?
Precautions and Preparation As a precaution our bishop, Archbishop Foley Beach, has issued a temporary directive concerning the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak. He is asking us to take extraordinary reasonable precautions to safeguard our people. He said:
“Let us not live in fear or panic, but walk in the wisdom of the Lord with our eyes focused on Him as Lord. First, I have appointed an ACNA task force led by Bishop John Guernsey, who with other bishops and medical professionals, are helping the bishops deter-mine what guidance we should give the Church. Second, until such time as we issue a Provincial pastoral letter regarding this concern, and out of abundance of caution, I am asking the following to be observed in our diocesan congregations, effective immediately: Communion is to be administered using the bread only … There will be no drinking from the common cup. If you are flu-ish and sickly, stay at home and watch the service and say your prayers online.”
Our Faith Anglican Church sermons are available online at faithanglicanchurch.org/sermons. In case there is an outbreak in the Mid-South, it would be wise to have several weeks of food and medicine at your home. The CDC recommends the following: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Fearless Service At the same time we must be ready to serve those in need, no matter the cost. When the Covid-19 Coronavirus hit Wuhan, China, Christians were not cowering in their homes, they were on the streets handing out face masks. They risked their lives to tangibly show the love of Jesus. In 1878 the Martyrs of Memphis – St. Constance and her companions – died caring for the Yellow Fever victims. St. Constance was an Anglican nun. In the midst of our appropriate precautions and preparations, if the Covid-19 virus hits Memphis, let us not shrink back in fear. Rather, let us show the tangible love of Jesus, no matter the cost. As Jesus spoke of the final judgment day in Matthew 25, He said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Jesus was speaking about visiting the sick and those in prison, and feeding and clothing the naked. May God give us the grace to go and do likewise!