Today was our third Advent Sunday in Cowal and Bute - they seem to be passing with alarming rapidity!
The split of charges struck me strongly today. Both Dunoon and Rothesay had their worship, one a sung eucharist, the other mattins (or morning prayer, not sure which was chosen). One I led the worshippers, celebrated the eucharist, preached, shared fellowship and the pains and joys of the congegation. The other was led by another member of the worship team, some miles away over the sea. I have no idea who came, or what they sang, or what it felt like. I know the gist of the sermon (I e-mailed some copy) but otherwise, it was unknown.
A helpful email came, saying that things had been OK. But otherwise, one half of my ministry has started a new year without me knowing much about it.
It is hard, to try and split yourself between communities, and to try as hard as possible to be fully present in whichever one one is in. The careful use of language, titles, addresses and phone numbers seems important. I greatly value the forbearance that both charges have to my absences, increasingly so now that I have wider responsibilities. They imply that they don't notice. I think that's good. But it is hard, when you would dearly love to fully belong to each community.
I wonder if the theological reflection from this is something about the nature of God incarnate (for which we now have our Advent wait.) God, fully present and focused on every community and every individual in those communities. Yet an infinite God with the scope to be present in every community, with every person. God can do it, with perfection.
But mere humans, even those trying their best, must muddle through as best as possible.
Tomorrow awaits, the second day of Advent, and a journey to try and be present with five communities elsewhere in our diocese, to help them with their future.
God be with us all.
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