Blessings to you all in VicTas!
I am aware of how different the situation is for all of us, depending on where we are in VicTas. In Tasmania, we are experiencing relative freedom with physical gatherings starting to happen, while in Victoria, restrictions are continuing for a much longer time, especially for those in metropolitan Melbourne. The announcement last Sunday of Victoria’s roadmap to reopening from COVID restrictions has affected us in different ways. It was more or less what was expected by some, while others had hoped for something very different.
I found myself remembering the gospel story of two disciples on the road to Emmaus, telling the stranger they met along the way of how their hopes for a redeemer had been completely dashed.
And that led me to reflect on the other gospel stories of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. Jesus came to his disciples in small fearful groups inside locked rooms or on the beach. He came to them in twos or threes walking despondently along the road. He came to Mary, tearful and completely on her own, alone in a garden.
Jesus’ coming to them was not dependent on the size of the gathering. And in coming to his disciples, wherever they were, he took away their fear. He brought them peace and sent them out with courage and hope, as witnesses to his love and bearers of the Spirit of God’s mercy. Jesus gathered them into himself and made them into one community.
No matter our situation, Jesus continues to come to us, gathering us into one community. We are gathered together, even when we are separated physically. As we pray and worship God – whether with printed resources dropped at the door, worshipping online or gathering in small groups – we are one huge gathered family in Christ.
As we care for each other – whether by phone, email, written letter or Zoom – we are showing our love for each other, holding and upholding each other in Christ’s love. Whether packing food hampers for our local neighbourhood, advocating for increased resourcing for renewable energies, providing phone support for families through Uniting or personal care for elderly residents through Uniting AgeWell – we are a Church sharing the mercy and compassion of Christ for the world and people God loves.
As we face the challenges and heartaches of these times, we also know we are blessed by Christ through the gift of each other, and the many resources we can generously share with each other.
We are called by Jesus to be one community together through the times to come, drawing on the peace of Christ with us, holding each other in prayer and love, and sharing each other’s heartaches and delights.
May you be bearers of Christ’s compassion and peace to each other, and to the world God loves.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you this day.
Rev Denise Liersch