Since January, I’ve been exploring ways to renew domestic church life. Overall, the feedback generally has been positive, but some readers have expressed the concern that the term “domestic church” potentially leaves out a lot of people. What about divorced households? What about single-parent households? Or singles? Or grandparents? What about all the other household arrangements that exist? Can you be a domestic church even if your family doesn’t look like the stereotypical “ideal Chrisitian household” (whatever that means)?
Here’s the good news. The term “domestic church” is specific, but it’s not exclusive. The first-century Christian idea of family represented a radical departure from the pagan Roman understanding. In Roman culture, the family was a tribe based on blood. You were either in or you were out.
One of the many reasons Christianity was viewed with suspicion by Roman society was that it challenged this tribalistic view of family. Christianity taught that all the baptised were God’s family. In fact, for Christians, ties of grace were even more binding than ties of blood. Through the waters of baptism, people from every walk of life were now united through grace. All the baptised were brothers and sisters in Christ, and those ties were meant to supersede all other earthly connections. This represented a radical revisioning of what it meant to be “family.”
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