Some older (not “old-fashioned” – that implies an acceptance) ideas of the place of women both in society and in the church are still accepted. As an example, I recently spoke with someone looking for a church home but who decided not to become part of Trinity Church because our denomination ordains women. These ideas were – were – a central part of the philosophy of life in general and influenced life in the church . . . but were (I go so far as to say) wrong.
As I shared last week (and again in service yesterday), I recently read a commentary that said that In a culture made by and for men, Jesus let women become his disciples (teaching them instead of encouraging them to embrace ignorance). He spoke to them in public in a culture that discouraged it (treating them as human beings instead of scandalous temptations). He even appeared to women first after his resurrection (lending them dignity in a way that no one else could have).
The modern definition of what it means to be a woman can be a minefield of confusion, but here’s what we know is true: a woman is someone who Jesus elevates to equal status in our world, and treats with dignity and respect as an equal image-bearer of God. [Axis]
In cultures past (we hope) and in days past (we hope) women were considered near chattel. The story of Esther reflects this in how Queen Vashti was treated – she was once esteemed but fell into disfavour for not being obedient. Open your Bible to the first chapter of Esther and you’ll read that one night – after the royal wine had flowed freely for seven days – Ahasuerus called to Vashti so he could “show off her beauty”. When she said “no” she was removed from the court. This, though, did open an opportunity for Esther, who became queen and was used by God to save the Jewish diaspora in Persia.
Esther’s story is not a story of equality. She wasn’t fighting for equal rights nor was Queen Vashti (although Harriet Beecher Stowe called Vashti's disobedience the “first stand for woman's rights”). Esther was merely fighting for her people. He had a difficult decision to make, knowing what had happened to the former queen. But she was bold.
We, too, are called to be bold: bold to stand up for what is right and bold to act against what is wrong in our world – bold to stand up against injustice in this world, even if it is uncomfortable for us to do so. We act with passion for people whom Jesus loves – even if their philosophy or lifestyle is different than ours. We are called to be consistent even if it is uncomfortable for us to do so. In particular, to be pro-life (at the forefront of attention because of the U. S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe versus Wade) means that not only stand up for the un (or pre) born, but for the born, the unwed mother, the refugee, the undocumented or illegal alien, the person on death row, the person who is thinking of assisted suicide, the person who has to decide between eating and paying rent, the homeless, the . . .
May God help us to act boldly, with love and compassion, for the marginalized.
And we haven’t begun to discuss bimbofication!
Following our service, I received a text from someone who had been watching on-line, saying Are you kidding me? What happened with Esther? To which I replied read the book! I recommend that you do, too. As always, you can find a manuscript of the message in the SERMONS section of our web site – click here to download a copy. You can also “revisit” yesterday’s service on our Facebook page (click here) and on our YouTube channel (click here).
We celebrated with Richelle and Martin in our service as they dedicated baby Penelope to the Lord. We as a congregation committed to supporting and encouraging them in raising her in the ways of Jesus. We do not take our responsibilities lightly. Continue to pray for this young family in the days ahead.
Annual Meeting Sunday is normally a time to look back and celebrate the year past and to look forward with dreams and plans for the year[s] ahead. My message usually incorporates our successes (and sometimes our . . . I don’t want to use the word failures . . . our unsuccesses). Of course, as we come out of COVID there is not much to report regarding active ministry programs this past year, but plans are underway for future ministry.
This will be a strange pastor’s report, as it will be my last one for Trinity Church. I have had the honour of being your pastor for the last near 28 (wow!) years. We have accomplished good things over these years, though we have had our frustrations as well. Through it all we have tried to touch people in Jesus’ name as we worked for His Kingdom.
Noah’s story will be basis of our message. Someone put it this way:
Take a moment and picture Noah peeking over the deck of the ark. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water. All Noah can see is water.
We can, at times, feel we’re standing there with Noah on the ark. God has promised to be with us and to take care of us and to bring us into a new day, but we are buffeted by winds and rain and are still waiting for “that day”. We can’t see it. We forget that the waters recede and that solid ground will be found – that God is with us. There is hope. Sunday’s message: Waiting for the Dove.
If you feel comfortable, please join us in the sanctuary as we celebrate. If you do not feel comfortable joining with others in the congregation in person please join us through our Facebook feed (click here) or our YouTube feed (click here) – or link directly from our web site (click here). Please “check in” – let us know if you worship with us “live or delayed”.
This year's Annual Meeting (an abbreviated one) will follow the coming Sunday's service. Board and financial reports, along with a budget, will be shared, and the new church board introduced. A fellowship/coffee time will follow.
My pastoral report for the new church year will focus on what was and on what will and might be. And while any time is a good time to pray, now is a good time to stop and listen for and to the voice of God and to become grounded, to search for God’s direction so that we can be what He wants us to be in the coming days. In fact, we have been called to pray as a local church and as members of a denomination . . . as you have been hearing recently, we have been mobilized!
The hope is that everyone who is part of our denomination will commit to pray for God’s protection, direction, and revelation. Beginning yesterday we are Praying Our Way to Pentecost (June 5). The prayer: to see renewal and revival in our churches.
This Half-Million Mobilization is a call to Nazarenes to experience unity as a region, to hear from the Spirit in our times of prayer, to share with each other what the Spirit is saying, and to discover His plans for our hope and future. A prayer journal has been developed to help us in our focus (click here, or download your copy from the main mailing page).
An app for mobile devices has been developed, and will provide the daily devotionals:
A Holiness Today Special Edition devoted to prayer is also available (please e-mail the church to receive a copy or click here to download a copy). Print versions were made available but were sold out before we could order them; I am sorry that we missed out on them and could not have them for you.
We meet every Wednesday evening at 7:00 through ZOOM to prayer together. We share with one another, we discover the needs of others who are part of our church near and far, and we pray . . . some silently, some vocally. Why not join us this week? Click here to link directly, or use meeting ID 827 8541 6189 with passcode 598913).
\Thank you for your faithful support of the work we are trying to accomplish for Christ through what we do as a church . . . for giving generously of your tithes and offerings to the meet the needs of our local church. We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and through the Canada Helps web site (click here).
We have a great team of young leaders in our congregation, and they don’t always get the recognition that they deserve, even though they are well involved. For example, our worship team meets an hour before service each week to practice . . . hardly anyone
knows knew that. We appreciate them and all that they do. We especially again point to Matt and Johania, “ministers-in-training”, searching God’s direction for their futures and seeking His touch. Johania will “share” in our May 22 service.
I have been the unofficial chaplain of the Ottawa Misfits Motorcycle Group for the last number of years. I stumbled on to the group – by invitation – “lo those many years ago”. When we gather (we didn’t join the Rolling Thunder protest!) the conversation often turns to spiritual matters, and I am welcome and welcomed to answer questions that may arise. This year, with indoor services allowed, the group will join us for our May 29 service. A “Blessing of the Bikes” will follow.
Our annual spring Celebration of Worship through Music will be held on June 5. We would like to invite everyone to participate . . . talk with Matt if you would like to sing, to share some prose/poetry/a story, to play . . . to be part of a great time of praise.
It is also Pentecost Sunday . . . we expect a great time of blessing!
Also note . . . District Assembly will be led from the Rosewood Church in Scarborough June 10; streamed on the district YouTube channel as well. The evening ordination service (only) will be “in person” . . . Pastor André of our Ottawa Haitian Church will have his credentials recognized by our denomination (he comes to us from the Mission Evangélique d'Haiti) . . . our June 12 worship service will tie in with the District “Family Reunion” service and will also be shown on the District YouTube channel (the sanctuary will be open for Trinity people to gather but we will broadcast the District Service) . . . the property committee will share a “spring cleaning needs” list soon; we ask that if you can you sign up for a cleaning need, to be completed at your convenience; this is instead of holding a work day . . . a pastoral transition team has been formed, made up of Barb, Emmanuelle, Matt, and Pierre; they will begin working with our District Superintendent in the days ahead and will be seeking input . . . a “transition handbook” is available on the district web site.