The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is pastor of New Season in Sacramento, California, and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, recognized as America’s largest Hispanic/Latino Christian organization with more than 45,000 certified member churches.
After more than two months of stringent lockdown orders, churches across America are finally beginning to reopen, a welcome sign to millions of people of faith who have been waiting for the chance to gather and worship together.
I witnessed this excitement recently during our first service at the church I pastor in Sacramento. Because of state restrictions, we were only allowed to let 100 people inside our 1,000-person auditorium, but being inside the room, worshipping together, even if it was six feet apart, felt like a breath of fresh air.
Yet as churches begin to slowly resume services, we should ask ourselves: Should we return to business as usual?
For many of us, “church” over the years has become synonymous with steeples, programs, music and attire. But to the first believers, the church meant an intimate, family-centric community of faith.
The Book of Acts, which documents the early days of the church, says these men and women “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”
In fact, the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which Christians around the world recently celebrated, occurred while they were in one of these homes.
Again, the Book of Acts says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
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Source: Religion News Service