May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
We are now well and truly into the season of Advent - the season of waiting, of preparing, of longing, of hoping. And as we move through this season, we trust that the thing that we are hoping for is coming ever closer.
There is so much that we are waiting for. If I think of my list of things that we are waiting for, it would include, in no particular order:
A Covid vaccine
Moving from orange back to yellow
An end to the pandemic so that we can finally hug each other again, sing together again, break bread together, and visit our loved ones who live far away.
From an Advent perspective, we are waiting. We are waiting for Christmas Eve, yes. We are waiting for that moment when, once again, God is born as a tiny baby and laid in a manger. But we know that God was born as a baby more than 2000 years ago - God is with us, Emmanuel. And so we are waiting then, for the fullness of God's presence in every corner of creation - for that time when the world will be governed completely by God's love and God's peace, when joy will fill all of our hearts to overflowing. And just as Christmas Eve is drawing closer to us with each square we cross off the calendar, the time of God is drawing ever closer.
And no matter what it is you are waiting for - for an end to the pandemic, or for the reign of God - we know that, because of Christmas, because God's eternal Word was made flesh, God is with us.
I want to thank you all for your flexibility in the uncertainty of these weeks. Our transition from Yellow to Orange has been fairly smooth - we were able to shift our worship to online only, our regular Wednesday morning bible study met online on WebEx this morning, and Elaine is taking advantage of the slight lull in the church office (no bulletins or powerpoint needed right now) to get the new church computer set up and organized (with special thanks to Adam Mosher, her tech support for this). By heeding the government advice to stay home as much as possible, we can help keep each other safe and do our part to help flatten the Covid curve of this current outbreak.
(I'm writing this from my home office - my cats like having me work from home, but they can be a bit of a distraction. Nuru is currently sitting on the desk next to my computer, and reaches out to put her paws on my forearm or shoulder if she thinks that I have ignored her for too long. Click here if you want to see a picture of my office "helper.")
Finally some announcements of what's up at Two Rivers Pastoral Charge in the next week:
Worship on Sunday morning will be at 11:15, livestreamed from Westfield United Church on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook page. I will be sending out the bulletin by e-mail in advance. This week, we will light our 2nd Advent Candle, with the theme word of "prepare." We will also be celebrating communion as part of this service, so I invite you to have some bread/cracker and juice/coffee/water with you as we worship.
Our Dec. 6 evening service for the National Day for Action and Remembrance on Violence Against Women will be at 7pm. This service is normally held at Long Reach United Church, but this year, because of Covid, it will be livestreamed only. You will find the service on our Facebook page, with the "Live" video starting a couple of minutes before 7pm. Everyone is welcome to join us, as we remember that Gender-Based Violence affects us all. This service is a time for lament, but also a time for hope (there's that word again), as we trust that a different world is coming.
And finally a reminder of our Virtual Sunday School. Gaby has been working hard to put together video Sunday School lessons, with a new lesson appearing each Sunday. Through the season of Advent, she is going to be reading picture books in these lessons, beginning with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (connected with this year's Christmas Letter). You can find these lessons on our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf_GZ3Fv02Ttv2JzkBkvUww
And I think that's all that I had to share today. I hope that you are keeping well through this current orange phase. Always remember that God is with you and that God loves you!
Blessings to you and yours, today and always,
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."