Today we return to 'in place' Sunday worship together, albeit with significant restrictions. With what spirit do we come?
There is a mixture of great joy at reconnecting with one another in person and with much of what is familiar. There are also continuing and fresh anxieties, not least learning to manage within COVID-19 restrictions - notably only having 17 places available in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (due to the current Queensland 4 square metres indoor space requirement for each person), so that we have another 'pod' of people worshiping together in Old Bishopsbourne with others in the Chapel itself (see our COVID-19 Safe Plan here). We also bring griefs and gifts of the greater 'lockdown' period and a renewed awareness of our human fragility and need for solidarity. Above all, we come together more closely today with a deeper sense of our need to travel onward with the God who creates, redeems and gives renewed life. Penny's reflection today - see here - is a fitting one: drawing us into the mission of Jesus, which is a love for all, particularly for and with the oppressed, and a vision of fresh joy and strength. May the God who is in the midst of all trials and sufferings, bring healing, justice, and new life to all.
This May Day weekend is another reminder of how our lives are currently lived under political rules and regulations. It seems that every single day there is new news, new numbers, new statistics to work from. New data for our political and community governance to analyse and make decisions on which affect how we carry on our daily lives. One thing that doesn’t seem to have changed though, except maybe in its escalation, is our propensity to have and promote our opinions of our political leaders and their advisors.
Yet today, as we read such a familiar passage as Psalm 23, and look for God’s assurance of security and comfort, I wonder if we are able for a moment to imagine ourselves as real sheep in a paddock, grazing contentedly and safely together under the watchful gaze of our loving Shepherd? ....
Jo Inkpin, Penny Jones, Jeni Nix, Peter Jeffery, Ann Edwards, Elizabeth McConnell