Welcome to Advent 2 of our time of preparation for Christmas, and welcome (perhaps more importantly) back to in person worship. As I write this reflection I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible again, as I am also sure many are looking forward to seeing each other. It will be a strange morning and we need to remember that for some us gathering in person again will bring with it apprehension and anxiety.
So don’t push the welcome too over the top, remember to maintain physical distancing unless you are welcomed to come closer, but enjoy greeting each other with a smile and some words of welcome. As we gather again it is my hope that we will bring with us the themes and messages that we have been exploring over the last 6 months or so. The welcome that we will share with each other is a welcome that we need to share with all who may come through our doors as well as the wider community here in Murrumbeena. This morning, as part of our gathering to share communion, we will also be sharing in a covenanting liturgy. This is similar to what John Wesley wrote for the Methodist Church some years ago to help them remember that their members are committed to God and part of the family of God. The words we are using are inspired by words used at the Armadale Baptist Church when they gather together to covenant – or promise, pledge – to the sort of community life they wish to share. These words reflect the words we’ve been exploring since August in a number of different themes and ideas. They speak of honour and respect, acknowledgement that we are part of God’s family even if there are differences between us, reconciliation if there have been hurts given or received, and understanding of just who we each are, remembering we are all created in the image of God. This week will not be the only time we use these words, we’ll revisit them at important times in our community’s life. It is the ministry teams plan to have this covenant of community life available for you to take home and read and reflect upon. As we begin our time of meeting in person again, as we journey through Advent the beginning of a new liturgical year and as we welcome the new calendar year and other significant celebrations in our life, we will say these words. Today we will add to the covenant the act of celebrating communion together. To gather around the Lord’s Table is, in itself, an act of covenanting or committing to being community. Today we welcome all as we gather. Jay Robinson