Welcome to Monday . . . and, it seems, welcome to winter. It is a bright sunshiny but somewhat cold day – it’s almost what my kind of ideal January day. There is snow on the ground – and what is winter without snow in Ottawa? I was happy for what happened over the weekend. It is a little cooler than what I like – -2° or -4° is about perfect. I can deal with what we have; I’m not looking forward to the inevitable minus too much which we’ve avoided so far but won’t forever! But it’s a good start to a Monday – there’s a great week ahead for as we walk with Jesus.
Yesterday we had another great day of worship and celebration (I’ve noticed I say “great” a lot). While there is “something missing” in our services with just the worship team in the sanctuary we sensed the presence of God with us, and I hope that you did too from your home. I look forward to all of us together in the sanctuary soon – how soon, of course, no one knows. A number of people have said the same thing to me – they miss the congregation of the congregation. Others are using this time of isolation as a time of solitude, rest, and renewal and are enjoying quiet worship from home. My prayer is that you will find God in a fresh and new way and that your love for Him and for others will deepen even as we are apart.
We are looking at the seven cardinal virtues that contrast with the seven deadly sins. In this we are trying to be “yes” people rather than “no” people, living the positive Christian life rather than just trying to avoid evil . . . focusing on and living the thou shalts rather than the thou shalt nots. Our series will continue through to the end of February (there will be a one week “intermission” from the series as Lent starts in February and we will focus on a message for Lent – and for Valentine’s Day – on the 14th).
In yesterday’s message we looked at liberality (or generosity) against greed. Not that we are greedy people (though we can be a little bit selfish at times if we are honest with ourselves). The question comes down to this: where is your heart? (or is it whose is your heart?). Jesus tells us to stockpile treasure in heaven rather than hoarding treasure on earth [Matthew 6]. Do we? Or are we influenced by and caught up in the consumeristic tendencies of the world in which we live – the world that says buy buy use discard and buy.
I ask that . . . and at the same time I know of your generosity, of your giving hearts. In the first eight months of this church year you have given almost $3,000 to support our missions work around the world, and you have given almost the same to support our (local and international) compassionate ministries – this, over and above being obedient to God in giving your tithes. I continue to be moved by how unselfish the Trinity congregation is to help when a need is expressed, especially in these uncertain days. It seems that I get to give is the attitude that we have chosen rather than I give so I can get . . . and our hearts and our treasure is where it needs to be.
Art Rainer said that God has designed you for generosity. Continue to be faithful. Continue to be generous. And if you are experiencing financial difficulties, remember that you can be broke and generous . . . it’s not only about money: be generous with everything else God has given you.
And look to God for His direction . . . in living . . . in giving. Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to you. Click here to download a copy of yesterday’s message. Yesterday’s service can be watched on our Facebook page (click here) and on our YouTube page (click here); you can also link from our web site (click here).
Thanks to those who “checked in” during our service yesterday. It was great to have Lisa back monitoring the pages from the sanctuary. We do want to know if you joined us, either live or delayed (the feeds are saved so that anyone can go back to them later). Please use email@example.com to check in rather than using the church e-mail address.
And with Lisa . . . Glenn was back, in the sound booth. The streaming feeds seemed to have worked well, the sound and the lighting better . . . David is getting a handle on the video . . . the work in progress seems to be progressing!
This coming Sunday we will again gather together apart. The days are coming when we will be able to join together in the sanctuary, but until then we joyfully celebrate God’s love from home in worship. I am again reminded of U2’s song based on Psalm 40 (click here to watch Yahweh and 40/How Long) – how long until we can get together again? We’ll sing to the Lord from where we are . . . and His Spirit reaches down to touch us.
Our sermon series on the Christian virtues continues – we look at abstinence against gluttony. Abstinence is almost a dirty word in our society . . . in fact, things have almost been turned around: self-indulgence rather than abstinence is almost a virtue. Self-indulgence has almost become our norm (the problem of being part of an affluent society).
It would have been appropriate to share a message on abstinence (Wikipedia defines it as a self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure) the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, as a preparation for Lent – after all, while the term usually refers to sexual abstinence, it can also mean abstinence from alcohol, drugs, or food. Call this – call this whole series – a lead-up to Lent if you would like. Our focus will be a little different that particular Sunday. This week we’ll see that our no is not actually a negative and that it can mean yes.
We want to be an encouragement to those who are struggling (although sometimes we need a little bit of encouragement ourselves). It’s difficult to do that when we aren’t able to see one another. Difficult, but not impossible. Let me know your favourite Bible verse or a verse that has helped you through the pandemic so far – we’ll make a display, put it on the bulletin board, and send a picture/make a collage to send out/put it on our Facebook page.
We have expanded our Wednesday evening gathering to include a virtual check in. Join us between 7:00 and 7:45 . . . pop in, pop out . . . let us know how you are doing (and what’s happening) . . . how you are coping (if you are coping!) . . . encourage and be encouraged. We are also taking time to pray for one another during this ZOOM meeting. And we are looking at new and other options so that we can stay connected as a congregation.
E-mail Pastor Frank for the log-in information.
We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and through the Canada Helps web site (click here). You can also drop your tithe envelopes through the mail slot at the church or mail them to the church. This coming year’s envelopes are now available – e-mail me and I will drop them off to you or you can come to the church office and pick them up.
Anna has finished preparing the receipts for last year’s giving to the church through envelope at the church and through e-transfer (immediate receipts are provided to those who use the Canada Helps site). I will be contacting everyone in the next week to arrange to drop off the receipts and offering envelopes.
Our Current Series . . . Christian Virtues
Jan 24 abstinence against gluttony
Jan 31 patience against anger
Feb 7 kindness against envy
Feb 14 heart: a message for Lent
Feb 21 chastity against lust
Feb 28 diligence against sloth
Mar 7 Johania speaking
Thoughts on Joseph
Mar 14 Favoured
Mar 21 Unfavoured
Looking to Easter
Mar 28 The Rise and Fall of Jesus
Apr 4 The Fall and Rise of Jesus
Monday Musings is an attempt to keep us in contact with what is happening in the lives of the people of Trinity Church. Feel free to slip a note under my door or e-mail me with something you may wish included: a word of praise or a request for prayer, an update on family news or a reflection of your holiday time . . . this is your page. [Pastor]