Well friends, this is our first bulletin in a format like this! And only God knows how long this will go on for – many are saying for at least six months. So, if that is the case, we will need to get used to it. The other day I was reading how the very first worldwide Anglican Bishops’ Conference planned for June this year in Kigali, Rwanda, has been postponed because of the implications of the Coronavirus. And what grabbed my attention was the Bible Verse that started this announcement. Here it is: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) And the amazing thing is that the context here is all about how Jesus is telling his disciples as to what is about to happen (his death and departure) but it also includes how they will be scattered, each to their own home (verse 32)! And I am immediately thinking: ‘Yes!’, and although our context is, at one level, very different to what was about to happen back then, there are still great similarities. And what is one of those similarities? Separation! They were about to be separated from Jesus, that is, physically separated from their Lord and Saviour. And to top it off, they will be scattered to their own home. I don’t know about you, but I am a ’hugger’. I was talking to one of the leaders at Ross River Anglican Church, Townsville, last week – we’re all trying to work out what we can and cannot do and how to do it! – and I was saying to him how I didn’t like church last Sunday at TGS as I am ’touchy-feely’. And this separation thing, that some might like, is driving me crazy. And he said to me, quote: “I definitely feel for you! Being a hugger is hard right now!” End of quote. Well, we certainly are scattered to our own homes at the moment. But we need to listen carefully to the words of Jesus in verse 33 and let them sink into us – perhaps memorise them – and please don’t say that we can’t memorise – we can remember much more than we think. In this world we will have trouble – yes, we can now easily relate to that one. But it is the two other things here that I want us to focus on. The first is that peace is found in Jesus. The second is that Jesus has overcome this world. As we think on these truths, please don’t just think about the troubles in the world, but also, and more importantly, consider the peace we can now have in Jesus and the fact that he has overcome this troubled world. Yes, in some ways we might be separated, but we never need be separated from Jesus and from the kingdom to come. Yes, take heart in that – hugger or not☺


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September 13, 2020