Jesus promised his disciples that he would never leave them, and promises us that he will never leave us. Whatever circumstances we face, Jesus is with us, living within us through the Holy Spirit. Although at the moment people are physically distancing themselves from us, to protect the vulnerable in our society, Jesus never seeks to distance himself from us. Instead Jesus seeks a closer and closer connection. Not just a handshake, but a hug. Taking us in his arms, close to himself. He has already paid for that embrace at the cost of his life.
Church community is so important. The scriptures tell us “don’t stop meeting together”, so that you can “encourage one another” and “spur one another on towards love and good deeds”. This may possibly be the last Sunday on which we can physically gather together as a community, if what has happened overseas is any indication. However, even when we’re isolated physically, we can still remain connected socially. Physical isolation, not social isolation.
In order to help that happen we encourage you to:
- Watch church online at the usual time on Sunday. Search for “Westbourne Park” YouTube channel. There are two different channels, so look for the one that doesn’t have youth videos in it. We’re on a steep learning curve about making that more interactive than simply watching, and will hopefully grow into online worship in coming weeks.
- Use our weekly “Church at Home” pack, either for printing at home, collection from the office, or a hard copy delivered to you if required.
- Phone one another during the week to see how people are going (perhaps choose 5 people each week to ring).
- Send emails of encouragement to one another.
- Read (and post on) the “Westbourne Park Uniting Church” Facebook page.
- Stay connected with your small groups, even if they have suspended meeting. We’re investigating whether a ‘zoom’ online meeting might work for some of our small groups.
It’s important to remember that the important thing isn’t the method that we use to be the church, but rather the mission that God has called us into as the church. Some churches who have moved to an online worship service have even discovered that many more people have connected with them online than would normally attend worship.
In the midst of the world’s current chaos, we are a people who know a source of hope and a gift of peace that satisfies. Our mission is to share with other people with love of Jesus, peace of Jesus, grace of Jesus. As we do that, let’s pray that God will use this current strife to draw more people to Jesus.