The rampant spread of the coronavirus has prompted the media to come up with a variety of resolutions to beat the virus, with some methods more effective than others. Though taking proper hygiene precautions have been effective in slowing down the spread, a treatment to directly affect the virus is needed. More sound than homemade DIYs is convalescent blood plasma which is currently a high demand by those on the front lines of COVID-19 treatment research.
One of the many functions of blood is that it produces antibodies that can help recognize and target harmful microbes. Researchers hypothesize that plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used as a viable treatment, not just to prevent the virus from spreading, but hopefully to put a stop to it. Those who successfully recovered from the virus and are eligible to donate are believed to have antibodies that can be used against the COVID-19.
Unfortunately, not many survivors have expressed the intent to donate despite the monetary incentive offered by donation centers. At least, not until a Christian church in the Republic of Korea known as Shincheonji has announced its pledge to donate blood plasma, not just from a few hundred individuals, but from an incredible number of 4,000 members who successfully recovered from the virus. This makes Shincheonji the largest group donor of plasma for COVID-19 treatment, to date.
Now, Shincheonji is not only fighting the pandemic not just on the medical front, but also on the spiritual front. On September 16, 2020, Shincheonji members worldwide joined together with congregants from various religious groups to pray online together for a speedy end to COVID-19. The online prayer meeting was done to show solidarity amongst the faith community as everyone prayed for the end of COVID-19 worldwide, and they wish to spark in others this same hope.
Shincheonji has expressed its determination to the religious community regarding the virus, saying, “In the situation where the whole world is suffering from COVID-19, we want to break down the walls of denominations and religions to overcome the disaster, and urge for the religious people to unite and pray.”
This call to action did not return empty.
The online event has inspired many people of faith overseas in California to gather together as well and pray for the end of the pandemic and also for the recent wildfires that have devastated many communities. As a branch church of Shincheonji, the California Zion Church in Southern California organized an online prayer event on September 16th led by various religious leaders from all walks of faith.
Together as one, prayers were lifted up regarding the many who are putting their lives on the line to ease the hardships facing countless communities. For the health professionals, for the firefighters, for the victims of damage and loss, for the world ravaged by sickness and distress — earnest and heartfelt prayers resounded throughout the event as participants shared moments of prayer. Believers from the east and west streamed together to express their earnest desire to bring forth healing.
This invitation of prayer transcended many differences as people of various ages, cultures, and religions were drawn together by one similarity: their heart for humanity.
Similar to Shincheonji, the efforts of California Zion Church does not end only with prayer. Due to the wildfires, many families lost their homes as well as their belongings. California Zion Church congregation members have spent their free time contacting companies requesting for donations. They are working together with local businesses to donate goods such as coffee and pillows to the Los Angeles Fire Department to help them carry out their work. It’s difficult to be on the front lines but even the little things can go a long way.
The desire for the suffering to end is strong and many are contributing in their own way. Despite differences in beliefs, one thing that remains true is that division only breaks progress but a united front brings victory.