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With you,

Pastor Ivan Kirk

Message from Pastor Ivan

COVID-19 Updates

Dear GSCC Family & Friends,

This past week has seen the number of coronavirus cases continue to increase along with continued fear and panic and surprisingly, a callousness or disregard about the seriousness of this virus among some that feel it just cannot happen to them and last night, Governor Newsom issued a “Stay at Home” order for the entire state of California meaning that only essential services such as banks, food stores, gas stations, laundromats and pharmacies will remain open.  This order went into effect Thursday night and will remain in effect until further notice.  So, how are we as God-fearing, Jesus-following, bible-believing Christians to respond to this pandemic and the Governor’s order?

First things first.  After much prayer and contemplation, it has been decided that GSCC will not have Sunday morning services until further notice.  During this time I encourage every Christian to pray for our leaders as commanded and outlined in 1 Timothy 2:1-6 and to spend time listening to the voice of God in the pages of Scripture. 

I also think we that we need to educate ourselves during this time.  We need to understand as much as we can about the nature of this novel virus and what we can do to reduce the transmission of it.  Third, we need to learn how people of faith in the past have responded to the “coronavirus” of their time.  Lastly, we need to learn how we should respond to such crises in our time.

Below is an excerpt of a podcast interview from Crossway Publishing with Dr. Bob Cutillo who serves as Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado School of medicine and is also the physician for the Colorado Homeless Coalition in Denver.  You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.

“…I’m a family physician; but I’ve been involved a lot with infectious diseases in my life because of working with underserved populations where there’s a lot more contagion, and then also working in Africa for quite a while.  So I’ve always followed the epidemics that have transpired and I was looking at SARS in 2003 and then also the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, and they never spread like this one.  So I was thinking, Oh, it’s going to be something like that. Those were coronaviruses. This is a coronavirus.  But it just goes to show you that each virus is novel in its behavior and so I think it took a lot of people by surprise, including me.  These viruses share the same microbiological family—they’re all coronaviruses. “Corona” meaning, “crowns.”  It’s just the way it looks under the electron microscope.  But many of these coronaviruses, we’ve known for years, have been the cause of common colds.  There are coronaviruses of many varieties and they have very differing ways that they function.  I think what we are aware of is that viruses are constantly in antigenic change—in a mutational change—and so when they change, they change quite rapidly because viruses are mutating at an incredibly rapid rate.  They achieve a different kind of virulence and we have to learn each time what it’s going to be like.  I think in this case it did come from an animal source and it affected the human population.  That’s happened before, but we always hoped that it wouldn’t be human-to-human transmission.  I think for a short time in the beginning they thought, Oh, it’s not going to be human-to-human. It’s just going to be animal-to-human.  But in fact, once it started taking off as human-to-human transmission, and with a high degree of contagiousness, it just took off.  I think what it shows is that the microbial world is not something we’re in control of.  I think some people think this is an anomaly.  It is unique and we’ll talk maybe about how unique this is in our point in modern history, but I think we need to understand that the microbial world is constantly changing and we’re never in control of it.  And so I think what we’re experiencing today is something that we’re going to be changed by and perhaps prepared better for in future cases, but this respiratory virus is definitely unique in the fact that it has entered into a human population that has very little immunity to it, if any, and the response is, therefore, a rapid spread.

Again, the thing that we look at with the coronaviruses—whether it’s SARS or MERS or the common cold or this one—is that this is a virus that is spread by respiratory droplets.  So therefore, the air becomes a vector.  Air is everywhere and we all breathe it and we all breathe into it.  So that’s a very unique and important way that viruses spread when they’re spread by the respiratory droplet rate.  Now, we know that this has a significant contagion.  It’s not as contagious as measles; it’s not as contagious as diphtheria in the past before we had the vaccine; but it is a virus that is novel to us.  We have no vaccine.  We have no natural immunity.  And so it’s spreading rapidly.  Now, the Ebola virus—when I wrote the book, that’s what we were actually dealing with and I brought that up in my book about how we respond to viruses and contagion, but it was Ebola at that time—and that’s a very different virus because it’s spread through contact with your blood.  And so the spread of it is not as fast because it’s not through the air.  However, it has a high mortality rate, upwards of 50 to 70 percent.  So that has its own ramifications and we dealt with that in a different way.  Ebola couldn’t spread as rapidly as this one because it wasn’t airborne.”  (You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.) 

Second, how do we reduce the transmission of any coronavirus?  Same recommendations from previous generations as I wrote last week:  Avoid unnecessary public contact; disinfect surface areas; wash your hands and don’t touch your face!  (Isn’t this the net effect of the “Shelter in Place” directives and orders?)

Next, how did people of faith respond to the “coronaviruses” of their time?  Here are a few examples:

  • Plague of Cyprian (249-262 AD) – history tells us that at the height of this plague, more than 5,000 people died in Rome daily!  While this plague severely weakened the Roman Empire, Christians of that day demonstrated a neighborly love of selflessness by attending to every need of the sick even though it meant they themselves might become infected.
  • Plague of Europe (14th Century AD) – in five years, the Plague killed half the population of Europe.  While many people fled, a well-known monk by the name of Martin Luther along with his pregnant wife, stayed to help care for the poor.  His rationale?  Luther quoted Matthew 25:41-46.
  • Jesus and the Leper(s) – during ancient time, leprosy was one of the most contagious diseases carrying one of the greatest social stigmas.  Yet Jesus showed sacrificial love and compassion ignoring both the stigma and the risk to his own health (remember Jesus was fully human!).  He healed lepers by touching them! (Luke 5:11-13)

Lastly, how should we respond to the current pandemic (and other crises) in our time?  Well, we need to make sure that we truly understand the Spirit that God has given us (2 Timothy 1:7), because it should force us to ask ourselves, “As a follower of King Jesus, how am I to live a life of faith in Him in light of this crisis?”  I am confident that God will answer each and every prayerful request.

Remember, GSCC will not have Sunday morning services until further notice.

Until the next time,