It seems such a short time since we were gathering for Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Holiday time is over for many Australians who were able to take leave and our schools are about to go back with parents, teachers and others worried about the Omicron variant of COVID and the possibility of children being infected, despite the increasing availability of Rapid Antigen Tests. Equally there are a number in our congregations who still feel unable to attend worship. I know of many people who will not visit a restaurant or go to a movie, and prefer to host small gatherings at home. There is a return to home hospitality, reminiscent of the early days in the married life of Judi and me when we entertained in each other’s homes and all shared in the preparation of the meal. This way of entertaining is certainly having an impact on the hospitality industry, as we hear each night on the news.
Our community faith life is also affected as we seek to remain safe, not spread the virus intentionally or gather for social occasions. While we have adjusted time for worship and streamed services by Zoom our numbers who have participated remain small. Like many other organisations it will be a slow and gradual return to a new normal.
This Sunday we are observing Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. In today’s Gospel we read the account of Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple. Here they meet Simeon and Anna. There is a meeting of generations. A family reunion or gathering of different generations, we would probably say today.
All these names are very proper, but I have a slightly different slant on the Gospel passage. I think about the story as a ‘Grandparent Story’, recognising the faithfulness and wisdom of grandparents and their hopes for their grandchildren. Do join us this week – it is not only for grandparents!