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And our final covenant commitment is as follows: We will pray regularly for one another, care for one another, worship with one another and encourage one another

I believe this is another commitment that reflects how we behave towards each other. This is what a Christian community does, pray for one another, care for one another, worship with one another and encourage one another.

Now the worshipping with one another has been tricky over the last 2 years. COVID has meant that although there was a worship space always ready and open for us, we were not in the same room together. We don’t get to hear what the other person is thinking or going through, we don’t necessarily get the opportunity to care and encourage one other when we are at a physical distance.

Our reading is the story of the lost sheep. The story of the one sheep that has gone astray and the search that the shepherd undertakes to find that sheep and bring them back to the fold. The example of the shepherd in this telling is one of determination and an attitude of never giving up. And then there is the celebration that happens when the lost is found.

I hope you’ve felt that celebration, that care, when you have been able to be present with the community again. I believe our challenge is to ensure that celebration and care happens regardless of whether the return to community is in person or online. The return to the community is what is important. That is how we can pray, care, worship and encourage one another, when we are in community together. All of this comes from our other words of grace, reconciliation, respect, one another, embrace and value and now care.

Next week I am opening the space up for people to give feedback and their thoughts on our covenant of community. What spoke to you warmly? What didn’t you agree with? What is going to challenge you? Do we need to do anything different to make this work?

We’ll also be looking at the first Christian communities that are described in Acts. What can they teach us – or is it just a pipe dream? How is God calling you to be in this community?

Jay Robinson

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