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As We Gather...

This Sunday we are entering an eight-week cycle of reflections upon the elements of worship, starting with gathering.

While it sounds simple, upon reflection, the nature of gathering is not entirely obvious. As we learned during the pandemic, we don't necessarily have to be physically present with each other in order to gather. And conversely we can be just a few feet apart from each other without being together in any deeper sense. It is entirely possible to be alone in a crowd.

Maybe the word "congregation" contains a clue since it derives from the Latin word grex, meaning flock. A flock, certainly, is more than just a number of individual sheep who happen to be close to each other. As a flock they are, at the very least, aware of each other and they move about as a group. Are several people waiting at the same bus stop a gathering? Maybe not to begin with, but once we start asking each other when the next bus is expected, once we start looking out for each other, once we engage each other in conversation, we have gathered together, if only for a few moments.

There are wild flocks and then there are flocks with shepherds. Perhaps, then, what makes us a congregation is that we are aware of each other, we respond to each other, we catch up with each other, we sing together, we pray for each other, and, we believe, the Lord is shepherding us. The One who walked amongst us so long ago, eating with the impoverished as much as with the weathly, with the outcasts of society as much as with the esteemed, That One has gathered us together as the Garden Church.

Last month we started gathering in person again for worship in the Garden. The masks and the chairs set carefully six feet apart failed to dampen our joy in seeing each other in the flesh. We were truly a gathering. This Sunday we will be including communion in our worship for the first since reopening.

From our Gathering Song:

As we gather, may your Spirit work within us.

As we gather, may we glorify your name.

Knowing well that as our hearts begin to worship -- together!

We'll be blest because we came.

We'll be blest because we came.


Rev. Jonathan

(Image below taken in 2019)

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