While I’d like to say it was nice to see everybody yesterday, I can only say it was nice to see those who I saw (it was nice to be able to meet together in the sanctuary) . . . and even then I can only say it was nice to see those who I partially saw. Can we be finished with these masks . . . please? I miss seeing smiles! Although since they work I’ll keep wearing mine.
I realize that some people will disagree with that last statement and think that wearing a face covering is an affront to whatever they think it is an affront to, but my thought (anecdotally, of course) is my health is proving that they work. I avoided a summer cold. I avoided a fall cold. I avoided a Christmas cold. I avoided a Valentine’s cold. I have not had a cold in the last year, and I always catch cold at certain times. There’s my proof that masks work, so as annoying as they are to wear (glasses fogging up, ear loops getting caught on my glasses, having to run back to the car if I forget to take one with me) I’ll keep on wearing them and will thank others for wearing them as well. Even if I miss seeing those beautiful smiles.
But for those who I did see (even if it was eyes-only) . . . it was nice to see you! I almost felt like (and here I hearken back to the 1970s again) singing welcome back, welcome back, welcome back (the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter). Only almost, though. The day will come when we are all comfortable being with one another . . . together . . . in person (the vaccinations can’t come soon enough). Until then we’ll continue as we are: those who feel comfortable joining us in the sanctuary are welcome (after following the COVID protocol provisions, of course); those who do not yet feel comfortable to join us at the church meeting with us on line as we continue to stream our services each week through Facebook (click here) and YouTube (click here) . . . and we’ll continue to do that even after the pandemic is over. The COVID protocol (for those who do join us) can be found at the end of our Musings.
This Sunday we continued our study of the Christian Virtues, looking at a topic I’d have happily skipped over – but since it is discussed in the Bible – and since Jesus was not afraid to talk about it – we cannot ignore it. So we looked at what our guidebook the Bible has to say about chastity and lust.
In our message I mentioned some statistics on the prevalence of pornography and the struggle some people have with it. I quoted one article that suggested that 98% of men have a problem with or struggle with pornography and that the other 2% of men who were interviewed were lying. Hyperbole, of course. Exaggeration. A more accurate number might be . . . well, it’s difficult to put a number on. While some studies suggest that viewing is up because of the pandemic, an article published in March last year (2020) talked about the problem – a “something” that has a hold of people in the church: the study said that 68 percent of Christian men view porn regularly (the same percentage of non-churched men. This does not mean that they (or others) are addicted to it, but a 2014 article said that broken down by age: 79% of men between the ages of 18-30 view pornography monthly; 67% of men between the ages of 31-49 view pornography monthly; and 49% of men between the ages of 50 and 68 view pornography monthly [link].
I also mentioned that 30% of the women who were interviewed struggled with pornography as well. Again, the word struggle is used in different ways by different interviewers in different articles. A more accurate number may be that 17% of women struggle with pornography while 30% view it regularly. That’s still high! This is a growing problem in our society. And while some may say that it is just “acting” between two consenting adults, we are also aware of the exploitation of women (and of men) and we cannot ignore that human trafficking for sexual purposes is a large part of the “industry”.
I share this information so that we are aware of a societal problem that is influencing the attitudes and actions of people of God (although what many see as a problem others see as an acceptable distraction in an open society). It is a serious problem (that we can – and will – discuss at another time), but it is only part of a deeper issue and battle between chastity and purity, and the temptations faced by lustful desires. And while the focus on chastity and purity is most often of the sexual component, the Bible makes us aware that the lusts of the flesh shows itself in an overwhelming desire for self-gratification, period. Our call, though, is to live pure and uncorrupted lives that honour God.
Click here to download a copy of Sunday’s message. You can watch yesterday’s service 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to check in rather than the church e-mail address.
This coming Sunday we’ll conclude our study as we look at the seventh of the Christian Virtues. There is nothing wrong with being – in fact it is probably a good thing to be – relaxed. Even if you have (maybe especially if you have) a “type A personality” and the very thought of relaxing makes you antsy. It may be difficult, but relaxation is a good thing to learn. To be relaxed and restful – idle, so that you can recharge. Sometimes we become worn out and don’t think that we have the energy to go on; that’s when stopping and sitting and waiting is necessary. Refresh so you can continue.
But it is quite another thing to be out-and-out lazy (as a lifestyle; I’m not talking about doing nothing while on vacation). Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper comes to mind. And that leads us to the seventh of the virtues diligence opposed to/against/over sloth that we’ll look at, Sunday at 11:00.
Again, for those who will join us online through our streaming services rather than in the sanctuary, click here to find us on Facebook and click here to find us on YouTube.
As we continue to open our hearts and find renewal in Jesus during Lent I offer a reading plan that walks us through the four Gospels during the season. We’ll read the complete story of Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection from different perspectives as we prepare for Easter:
Matthew presents Jesus as the one who has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and to usher in God’s kingdom.
Mark shows Jesus as the Son of God, come with authority to teach, heal and cast out demons, and as the Son of Man, the true representation of what it means to be human.
Luke presents Jesus as the prophet who has come to suffer for His people: healer to the outcast, the suffering, and the oppressed.
John shows Jesus as the Word made flesh – God present since the beginning of time.
Readings and special fasting take place during the week; Sunday is a regular fast day.
Day 6 Matthew 13-14
Day 7 Matthew 15-16
Day 8 Matthew 17-18
Day 9 Matthew 19-20
Day 10 Matthew 21-22
Day 11 Matthew 23-24
Day 12 Sunday
We’ll meet again this Wednesday evening at 7:00 to pray for one another in our "virtual (ZOOM) prayer room". Our God hears our prayers, whether they are audible or silent. E-mail me at the church for the ZOOM links.
We’ll meet again this Tuesday evening at 7:00 to check in as we keep in touch with one another in the midst of our enforced isolation. If you can join us pop in, say hi, let us know how you are doing E-mail me at the church for the ZOOM links.
Thank you again for your faithful and generous giving in support of our ministry at Trinity Church. We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer (email@example.com) 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.
Along with sponsoring Eliezer Suarez, one of the many children orphaned in the 2018 Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 plane crash, we at Trinity Church have also chosen to sponsor two churches in Cuba: the Almendares Church in Havana, and La Maquina Church by Guantanamo. We usually emphasize these churches and receive offerings for the churches in February, culminating in an International Food Fair potluck dinner the last Sunday of the month.
This year, of course, we will need to forgo the potluck; however, we will still receive offerings for the churches. Thank you for generously giving in the past . . . and for your willingness to support the churches this year. This is the last Sunday that we will emphasize this offering.
Our Current Series . . . Christian Virtues
- Feb 28 diligence against sloth
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
Post Easter Services
- Apr 11 Matt Speaking
- Apr 18 Oops . . . Not Oops . . . a message for Earth Day
- Apr 25 UN-chained
- May 2 Waiting for the Dove: our Annual Meeting
- May 9 Ah, Yes . . . a Mother’s Day message
- May 16 a service of music and celebration
- May 23 Pentecost
- May 30 Invasion
- Jun 6 District Assembly Service