Amongst all the necessary COVID-9 restrictions, what I am really missing in my spiritual life is gathering around the table to partake in Holy Communion with my fellow worshippers. I am not alone in feeling this special sense of loss, which is not quenched by my taking part in online worship with the 5pm Pilgrim community.
In response to many requests, the Assembly of the Uniting Church Standing Committee has conversed, prayed, and decided that Uniting Church congregations may choose to include Holy Communion in their online services during the period of restrictions. The Wagga Wagga Church Council and our ministers Janice and Yvonne are currently discerning whether to offer this sacrament as part of our online services.
To provide hope and comfort for these uncertain times of separation, Rev Amelia Koh-Butler has written the beautiful Liturgy of Empty Hands. The empty plate reminds us that Christ is the bread of life and satisfies our hungry hearts, and the empty cup reminds us that Christ is the cup of hope who revives our thirst. In our empty hands we faithfully celebrate the empty tomb and in hope we look to new life and new meanings.
When I took this photo of the birdbath and the leaves I thought of this image of empty hands. The bath is half empty because the magpies have drunk, plunged in with joy and flown off to shake their feathers dry. The autumn leaves are falling into it as the days pass.
From their past experience, the birds trust that I will refill the bath with clean water so it is ready for the next time they want a drink or a wash, whether in times of drought, or of plenty.
So it is for us – in faith we trust that our Creator, Redeemer and Spirit will continue to nourish us and inspire us to care for our hurting world.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.