Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has encouraged Sydney Anglicans to remember the promises of Jesus as they meet online during lockdown.
"Jesus has not left us alone - we have his Word, we have his Spirit and we still have each other. I’m so glad you’re at church today," the Archbishop said in a video for this Sunday's services (Aug 1).
The Archbishop expressed disappointment at not being able to visit churches since coming to office in late May. "Of course, due to the lockdown I’ve had many cancellations and we haven’t been able to visit churches on a Sunday or any of the other gatherings that were planned. Like everyone else, we’re looking forward to fellowship face to face. But I realise that it’s very tough for lots of people at the moment in churches and in communities across our city."
"Those who are working from home, and those who are unable to work from home, and out of work. Those doing school or uni at home, students and teachers often, of course, in the same house. Those who live on their own or those who rely on family or others for help in their home. Essential frontline workers from cleaners to hospital workers to police and those keeping the shops stocked and safe." the Archbishop said.
God is not on mute, Jesus isn’t locked down, the Spirit is with us, his Word is not chained.
He paid tribute to those keeping online church going and urged people to keep up connection.
"I’m so glad that in the midst of this, you’re connecting with church today, and often at other times during the week. I know minsters and ministry teams - paid and volunteers - service leaders, musos and tech people are working so hard to make sure that we can hear the Word of God together......that we can bow in prayer together and seek the Lord who knows us who sees us and loves us and hears us. It’s an important time to remember the promises of our Saviour who loved us and gave himself for us. Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of you."
Archbishop Raffel stressed the importance of keeping connected with church congregations, echoing the comments he made in his Archbishop Writes column in Southern Cross, published online for August.
"I know that very many of you are keeping in touch with fellow members of your church or bible study, and reaching out to your neighbours or others you know across the city with phone calls, zoom catch ups, as exercise buddies or practical help with shopping or in other ways - as much as the restrictions allow it. That has to be a pandemic silver lining and I thank God for it. What local churches are doing through this time is beautiful - and your Father in heaven sees it."
The Archbishop concluded by urging continued prayer for churches and the community.
"God is not on mute, Jesus isn’t locked down, the Spirit is with us, his Word is not chained. I hope you’re encouraged in your time together today and I’m praying that as we continue together through this testing time God will grow us in faith and hope and love."
The video available for download on Vimeo and also available to play on YouTube. For versions with Chinese subtitles - see Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese. Special thanks to Rev David Chang of Ryde Anglican Church for subtitling.