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.
The Ten Commandments! - such a foreboding name. In fact, it's not a very good name for them. The Hebrew means: The Ten Words, The Decalogue. It is the revealed Word of God.
A little bit of context: the Israelites have been in the wilderness for three months after being freed from slavery in Egypt. During that time God has provided them with fresh drinking water, and sustained them with manna and quails to eat. Now on the day of the third month, God asks Moses to get everyone ready to encounter God at the foot of Mt Sinai. God will come in a cloud and speak to Moses so that everyone can hear and trust him.
We can understand from this context that the decalogue was addressed to the people as a whole psyche, and each individual is addressed as well. The community has responsibility as a whole, and the individual has responsibility. In fact, there is an ancient Jewish myth that these words were offered to the entire world at the same time and was interpreted into all languages of the earth. And that Israel is the only nation to accept it. This myth illustrates that the Words are universal in application.
Jo Inkpin, Penny Jones, Jeni Nix, Peter Jeffery, Ann Edwards, Elizabeth McConnell