In early February, 2600 passengers set sail on the Diamond Princess, a luxury cruise liner from Hong Kong. Little did they know their cruise would soon turn into a nightmare as 700 passengers were infected with the newly identified coronavirus that was rapidly spreading through East Asia and eventually the world.
As other cruise lines began to request to port because of the outbreak, they faced a larger dilemma. Port cities began to deny them access. These port cities did not want to open their ports to help these “Zombie Ships” full of infected people.
The virus began to slowly spread throughout the entire world. Stock markets began to plummet, mandatory quarantines were put in to affect, and cruise ships were kept at sea. Fear crept in.
My desire is not to undermine wise measures taken to limit risk. The risk of contracting coronavirus was real and lives were at stake. The paralysis of fear kept those affected on cruise liners from hospitals and also keeps us from lost people whose death is not just possible, but imminent.
“Our churches sometimes can be like these port cities,” said Brandon Bowers pastor of Awaken Church. We have nice clean buildings with decent people and nice programs, but if we are going to really help broken people it comes with risk and the potential to get messy. Are we willing to welcome into our walls the broken and infected? Are we willing to immerse ourselves in the life of the community to bring hope and risk tainting our reputation of being infected ourselves?
Do you operate like those port cities? Are you willing to open your life up to those who are messy and rearrange your life to give them the time that it will take to share hope with them, rehabilitate them, and develop them into a disciple who does the same for others?
Our communities are filled with “Zombie Ships” who have been infected by sin. With the rise of social media, we are becoming more and more aware of just how bad it is. Our country is in desperate need of hope. We have the vaccine of the Gospel for the deadly virus of sin.
We cannot afford as a church to let fear drive us to build fences around our property and hunker down when our community is dying all around us. Fear is not from God.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 1 Timothy 1:7(ESV)
Fear has a tendency to make us want to crawl in bed and do nothing. Be careful if this is what you choose. The CDC confirms that that there have been over 10,000 deaths occurred from “fall involving bed.”
Do not be afraid! Share Hope!
This article was written by Lee Clamp, SCBC SHARE Team Leader.