Winter is over and spring has arrived! Whether you like the cold and bracing nature of winter in Canberra or not, there is something special about seeing new buds and shoots appear and grow. It always reminds me of new life – not just botanical but spiritual as well. Thanks be to the Creator for new life and renewal.
“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
(Song of Songs 2:11-13a, New International Version)
COVID restrictions throughout autumn and winter have been a major downer, but as we have lamented, waited, hoped, and prayed there have been positives as well as negatives; advances as well as setbacks. As we enter spring, “hope springs eternal” (to quote Alexander Pope) and we glimpse the possibility of fulfilment.
While winter has ended for us, it is summer that has just ended for many in the world. That means additional COVID problems for them and prompts a different mood.
We were reminded of the world-wide impact of COVID last Sunday as we listened to a recorded sermon from Tim Costello on “End COVID for all”. He emphasised that “it is not over till it is over for everyone” and issued a call to support the world’s poorest and hardest hit as they struggle to survive the impacts of the pandemic.
His sermon was provided by Micah as part of its “End COVID for all” campaign. If you didn’t hear it on Sunday, or would like to listen to it again, or want to hear the last 6 minutes that we didn’t play, the link is https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r0wtrki4do235i7/AAB6m2clAW2wmH80GdJoPYl7a?dl=0&preview=ECFA_Tim+Costello_Video+Sermon+2.mp4
Tim Costello was also one of the 4 panellists on the ABC program The Drum on Tuesday evening. He appeared as the Executive Director of Micah Australia and commented on a range of current issues. You can watch it on https://iview.abc.net.au/show/drum
As it turns out, the Men’s Book Group met at the manse that night for discussion of Tim Costello’s book “A Lot with a Little”. The Women’s Book Group had already read and discussed it some time ago. The general consensus was that it is well worth reading and we warmly recommend it.
This Sunday it is the turn for I-Z’s to be in the church. The Zoom link to the live stream for those not attending remains the same viz. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/410991017?pwd=WEdZakgzL1d0cDRrQUVaQ0kxd0JrQT09#success
I will be preaching on Exodus 12:1-14, the institution of the Passover, which ties in well with it being a Communion Sunday.
If you will be joining in from home, don’t forget to prepare something suitable to eat and drink at Communion time. If you haver young children with you at home, perhaps you could involve them in the preparation. There are activity sheets attached that may be useful during the service depending the age of your children.
This Sunday we commence Sunday at 6. This is a weekly interactive Zoom gathering that has arisen out of the recent “Innovatively Emerging from COVID” conversations. Each session will last 1 hour, including time for helloes and goodbyes. These will be times of reflection, prayer, discussion and sharing, with different formats depending on the particular Sunday of the month. Our first one will explain more about that and then move into a time of “awareness Examen” (which will also be more fully explained on the night). See this weekend’s bulletin for the Zoom link.
By the way, don’t forget that Sunday is also Father’s Day.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in trouble, and persistent in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, International Standard Version)
P.S. No photos of Cecelia and Sam’s wedding yet. Watch for them next week.