The newspapers described the cold snap that descended on the east coast of Australia last month as an ‘Antarctic vortex’. Snow in Orange and southern Queensland, overnight lows of minus two degrees in country Victoria and minus three in Launceston, central heating turned up and beanies and wraps were all testament to a chilly winter.
However, this vortex did not deter the daffodils. Pushing up through frozen earth, these cheery flowers act as a yearly reminder that new life follows. No doubt the parks and gardens near you are blanketed in yellow heads bobbing in the breeze, just as these daffodils are defying the frosts of Fitzroy Gardens.
The physical seasons help us navigate our own metaphorical seasons.
It seems appropriate that the triennial Assembly is always held in July. Members meet in the knowledge that spring is fast approaching. The promise of new life is evident as members break bread together, discerning the spirit of God as they sit with reports and proposals, meet in working groups and hear stories of our partner churches.
This Assembly a new general secretary was appointed, as well as the installation of president Stuart McMillan.
The Major Strategic Review team, tasked with the massive job of recommending strategic direction for our season prepared a series of Bible Studies entitled A New Season. It is clear that the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is preparing for change.
The annual cycle is a comfort. Change is constant. We observe it as we look in the mirror. As we read the news. As we experience hardship and achievement, joy and pain. And yet, despite the inevitability of change, of new seasons, we still try to halt its progress.
Change is to be endured, the Basis of Union makes clear, because of the completed work of Christ.
“The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of history only because its Lord comes, addresses, and deals with people in and through the news of his completed work.” (BoU para 4)
Whatever is ahead of us, as the people of God, we can go forward with certainty, “as [the Church] has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.” (BoU, para 3)