My much loved black cat upsets me at times. She likes routine and, when things change or when a stranger enters the room, my cat becomes fidgety and anxious. She becomes quite irrational and distraught.
Cats love routine. They covet predictability. Everything is fine – as long as nothing changes!
I think people are like cats. There are times when we just yearn for things to remain the same. For instance, I don’t like what’s happening in Epping with all the high-rise development, preferring to remember Epping as it was – a sedate garden suburb with many lovely federation period homes. There are times when I yearn for the church I grew up in – a place that literally overflowed every Sunday with passionate church-goers, where weekend camps away and vibrant church socials were a real feature.
These days it’s quite different. Things have changed.
Perhaps the biggest change concerns worship. Some people love a structured liturgy with pipe organ. Others just relish in an informal gathering where there is lively, contemporary music. Older people like to look back to how worship was when they were young. Younger people want to look forward to what it can become.
Today three rather distinct congregations come together – West Epping 8am traditional worship and West Epping 10am family worship together with the CSI Sydney Congregation. Each of us worships quite differently and today we bring our forms and ways together with the intention of engaging in a united expression of praise and glory to God.
Some of may feel a little uneasy, if not annoyed that worship is not going their way this morning. Worship may feel foreign. It may even be a little alienating. For others worship today may stir their hearts and touch them deeply.
Being Christian involves embracing and dealing with all sorts of change. Not doing it exactly the way we want to may be irritating and, indeed, annoying. But today Jesus calls us to gather and worship TOGETHER.
We come as Christians from a variety of cultures and traditions with one thing in mind. This is to stand united in our praise of God and in our commitment to serving our Lord – where-ever that takes us.
Friends, today is a wonderful blessing. Three different congregations come together in their differences to express the one thing we have in common.
And that is our deep faith in God and our firm calling to follow Jesus!
Rev John Barr