This is the second time that I made an appointment to attend Sunday worship in a Beijing Church. The last time was on June 14, and the gathering was cancelled that Saturday, due to the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in Beijing. On August 2nd I made the second appointment, and everything went smoothly as I attended the service.
Before entering the Chongwenmen Church, they check everyone’s Beijing health code and temperature. Attendees need to use hand sanitizer and go through security. Those who enter receive a Sunday worship ticket with a seat number where believers are asked to sit.
I found a seat 5 minutes before the beginning of the service. Normally there are nine people who sit in a pew, but now there are only four. The service was still the same as usual, reading scriptures, singing hymns, praying, the choir singing, and preaching.
" How are you all as we haven’t met for a long time?" After a cordial greeting, the preacher, Pastor Li Peiying, asked the congregation to open their Bibles and read Psalm 103: 1-5, giving a sermon entitled "Recovery and Thanksgiving".
After more than half a year, the believers gathered in the temple to again worship and praise God. At the beginning of the sermon, Pastor Li mentioned the word “ungrateful”. This is not the kind of person that we want to be. There is a story recorded in the Bible of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. Finally, only one person came back to thank Jesus, and other nine were ungrateful. During the new crown pneumonia epidemic, not only the infected people need to be isolated, but even ordinary people need to stay at home to avoid contacting people. During this period, we can think a lot.
The opposite of ungratefulness is gratefulness. This is the kind of person we hope to be. During recent days we are aware that gratefulness is a beautiful Christian quality that all of us who want to be like Christ need to have. We must show more gratitude. We are again able to worship together in person, but we have not fully recovered. The church was previously full, but today is partly filled. Everyone needs to keep social distance. We hope the church will be full as before.
Our faith also needs to be restored. From the inside, we should restore the image God has created in the first place, and our faith should turn back to the Bible. The reason why there are many heresies and new forms of Christian beliefs is they deviate from the Bible, so our faith must be based on the Bible. Every child of God must regain his original love, and volunteers must regain the enthusiasm and gratitude that they had earlier.
After the service, the believers exited in an orderly manner and were told not to stay in the church. I took a few photos in the courtyard as a souvenir, and left the church in a hurry.
-Translated by Abigail Wu