Dear friends, my name is Richard Keith and it is my privilege to serve you as the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales and the ACT.

I want to thank you for your courage and patience. We have all experienced significant disruptions. Some of you are working from home. Some of you have lost your jobs. Many of you are caring for children. All of us are worried about our family and friends.

This experience will change us like a flood transforms the landscape. It will sweep away all our assumptions and it will push us to the limit. By the end, we will find out who we really are. But we must not let the floodwaters overwhelm us. We must find the rock that is higher than us, Jesus, the rock on whom we can stand to lift our heads higher than the flood waters and to keep our feet secure.

I won’t keep you much longer, but I’d like you to remember three things.

Remember that you are not alone. You are a child of God in his son Jesus and by his Spirit.. You belong to him and you belong to the church, and your church belongs to a network of churches, a community of communities that make up the body of Christ. Even on your own you are never alone.

Secondly, remember your calling to love your neighbour. We who are strong and well will remember to care for the weak and sick. We will look out for each other and we will help each other get through this. Together we will arrive alive in 2021.

Thirdly, remember God’s mission in his world. We have in Jesus what the world so desperately needs. Light in our darkness. Hope in our despair. Peace in our fears and anxieties. Share what you have in him with your family and friends. As a church we will not survive this trial, if we only plan to survive. We must find ways to actually and genuinely thrive and grow.

The church buildings may be empty, but so was the tomb. The living Lord Jesus does not live in a box. He is with us in his Word and in his Spirit and in the fellowship of his people.

Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you. And give you peace.

Thanks for listening.