And amid the fight for a semblance of normalcy, some people want to get together for worship — in places all around the country.
On a radio program years ago, the great comedian Brian Regan described his style of clean comedy by saying something to the effect of, “I mean, I’m not teaching Sunday School on stage, but…”
The host then asked, “Do they have Sunday School in LA?”
Brian replied, “I don’t even think they have Sunday.”
But lo and behold, they do, and some people even use the occasion to go to church.
Apropos, California Church United — a network of 3,000 houses of worship — announced Thursday they’ll be reopening for in-person services.
That would be, in spite of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders.
The plan is to reopen May 31st, rather than waiting for the governor’s “Stage 3,” which will at some point include churches, salons, and gyms.
May 31st was chosen because it’s Pentecost Sunday, marking the birth of the Christian church. Hence, Cali’s churches will be reborn on that day.
Water of Life Community Church Pastor Danny Carroll explained to Fox News that America’s churches aren’t the problem in all this mess:
“Our churches are part of the answer, not part of the problem. We’re an essential part of this whole journey, and we’ve been bypassed…kicked to the curb and deemed nonessential.”
Matt Brown — pastor of Riverside’s Sandals Church — slammed Gavin for declaring churches nonessential in the first place. It’s put them in a bad spot — do they choose the governor’s order, or do they follow their faith:
“We are torn between caring for and loving our people and his order. He didn’t ask us. He overstepped and he’s overreached, And he needs to step back and he needs to declare that the church is an essential part of what we do as Americans, as what we do as Californians.”
Church United founder Pastor Jim Doman put an exclamation point on that:
“We have a pastor in the south, in Chula Vista feeding hungry people a mile long in cars, socially distancing. How can the church not be essential?”
“It’s the heart of Jesus to love and care for all people,” he pointed out. “The heart of God supersedes government.”
And Fresno’s Family Christian Assembly Pastor Eli Loera came in with the alley-oop:
“We are not the…NBA. We are not a gathering of strangers. As pastors, we bury these people. We bleed with these people. We are a family, not a group of strangers.”
It’s certainly been strange to be unable to meet for so long, particularly under the circumstances. We’ve been told a plague is set to kill us; if that isn’t a prayer request, I don’t know what is.
Christians believe in the power of praying together, and yet — during this dangerous time — we’ve been told churches can’t meet.
But as for California, don’t ever expect anything to seem perfectly right.
There is, however, a bit of hope in the Sunshine State: Perhaps some government officials will be too busy to notice that churches are having services again — maybe Gavin and others will be distracted by Lifeguard duty, protecting us all from ourselves:
Way to go, West Coast.
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