Fr Ron Johnson
As I write this I am at the same time participating in this year's diocesan synod. In case you're wondering that doesn't mean that I'm hunched over my laptop at St Paul’s Cathedral, but are in fact sitting at my desk participating in Synod remotely through what is called the Synod portal. Due to COVID we are not able to meet in person, and so every member of Synod is linked remotely, and we are participating remotely. A sign of the times to be sure! Relying heavily on technology as we are it does lead to some interesting situations, particualry when technology fails, as it has a tendency to do. The use of technology in these COVID times has certainly come to the fore as regards its convenience and its ability to keep us to some extent connected to each other. Yet I believe in some respects this supposed connectivity is an illusion.
The Diocesan Synod is one of the few times when we emerge from our separate parishes and come together as a larger expression of the community of faith, that is the Church. For me personally, attending Synod is as much about renewing relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ, as it is with any legislative work that might happen. As someone said to me yesterday, we won't be able to catch up with those people we might only see once a year, and spend time hearing about how they have journeyed in the past year or two. The sad lesson of our times is that technology which allows us to remoting ‘connect’ so as to achieve a level of communication,/ and transact business, will never replace the quality and depth of human relationship that is achieved when we can meet face to face.
But then surely this is what we have missed out on in our local community of faith, here at St Nicholas, not being able to truly connect with each other, and not being able to truly share in how we have journeyed in Christ, what our struggles have been, and what we hope for. It is my hope that soon we will be able to do that very thing, on Sunday 7th November, as we come together to worship and praise our God, and in the midst of that truly connect with each other. Human relationships which are formed in and by Christ are a source of His Grace. If there is one thing we need more of at this time, (and indeed at all times) it is God’s loving and healing Grace.
Peace and Grace to you.