Perhaps you have heard Madison Kohout’s story, which is quite a bit different from the protagonist of Sunday’s Scripture story:
It came about completely by accident, when she moved to Arkansas from Oklahoma into an apartment she had rented online, sight unseen.
She fell in love with the affordable two-bedroom when she arrived, but in her excitement she didn’t notice the sign outside the apartment complex until she had been living there for about a week.
“The first week of moving here was crazy!” Kahout told Newsweek. “I was busy with finding a job and setting up my apartment, I didn’t even notice! I thought it was a bit weird that all of my neighbors were significantly older than me. After my first week I saw a sign in front of the apartments, and it had clicked!”
The sign read, “Senior Citizen Apartments.”
“I realized I accidentally moved into a retirement village . . .”
Nothing that the young man in the parable Jesus told of the wayward or prodigal son did was accidental. He willfully demanded his share of the family inheritance from his father. He deliberately left his home for the “bright lights” of the city. He consciously determined to have “a good time”, without thinking of the consequences of his actions. He sadly paid the price for what he did. And then he realized the direction his life had taken and he took action to correct his mis-steps.
The parable of the prodigal son. A story that reminds us that there is hope in despair and that God is in the midst of our desperation. We don’t just sing about glorious freedom and about chains being gone – we can know freedom from our bondage (what ever it is that has us in chains).
I suggested that the parable describes our reality . . . our relationship with God . . . how we let the bright lights and the baubles and the things that we want and the things that we think we need distract us from the relationship we can have with Him. And I ended our service by asking you to put yourself in the son’s place . . . to see where in the story you might be: listening to the voice of temptation to chose your own path instead of His, or giving in to that temptation to do what you want to do or be instead of what He wants you to do and be, or suffering the consequences of the decisions you have made and of not listening to Him . . . or finding your way back to Him and living for Him.
The Bible says that we are loved, no matter what we might do, no matter where we might be headed. It doesn’t matter if we leave home – we will always be welcomed back if we chose to return. In fact God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us [Romans 5:8]. This is the basis of our hope, and I trust that each one will determinedly seek to follow Him.
Yesterday’s service can be found 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, whether 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 using the church e-mail address.
We had a great discussion at last week’s Talk Together time Tuesday evening. Each week we meet to talk over and about the previous Sunday’s message. It may be that the message has confirmed in you something that you hold to strongly. It may be that the message has challenged you to think in a new way. It may even be that the message has caused you to ask pastor, are you out of your mind? What were you thinking? Please bring your insights to the table.
I hope that you will join me as we discuss the prodigal son (and the prodigal’s father) tomorrow evening. We’ll talk about willfulness and love and forgiveness and hope and . . . and whatever else may have come to your mind through our look at God’s Word. Read the message in advance (click here to download a copy), and then join us at 7:00 Tuesday evening. E-mail the church office for the ZOOM link.
This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. No, Mother’s Day is not a Christian holiday. You won’t find anything about specifically celebrating mothers in the Bible. You will find . . . if you look with a particular bias and point of view . . . instruction that women [should] keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive . . . And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church [1 Corinthians 14:34-35] and that wives . . . be submissive to your own husbands [1 Peter 3:1].
Maybe that’s what led to this: people who sign up for Dominion Dating [a new on-line Christian dating service] must affirm that God’s plan for women is that they exist as “housemaker and helpmate, in glad submission to a husband.” And while “[w]e recognize the necessity, at times, for women to seek employment outside the home,” all signers have to “reject ‘careerism’ as normative for women.”
Maybe we should look at what the Bible has to say about wives and mothers and women in general rather than honing in on scriptures that support particular biases. We could read Genesis. We could read Revelation. We could read everything in between. Then we would discover the principles and whole ideas that God has set out for women and for mothers and for women. We’ll do that this Sunday. Our message: Ah, Yes.
Our worship team will lead this week’s service from the sanctuary. While we look forward to another great time of celebration and praise through song with them, new provincial COVID regulations and limits mean that only the worship team will be allowed in the building. Please join us from home: click here to join us on Facebook or click here to join us on YouTube. If there are problems with one feed or the other someone will post a cross-link once the problem is known.
Pastor Bill Sunberg of our Toronto Emmanuel Church is leading a number of Anti-Racism Workshops on-line [click here to see a list of the books that will be discussed]. These discussions are interesting . . . and challenging! The next workshop begins this Wednesday (at 9:00 pm) and runs for four weeks, and looks at Canadian author Desmond Cole’s book The Skin We’re In – a difficult book to read, but a good introduction to race issues in the Canadian context.
If you can, join us Wednesday evening as we meet to pray with and for one another in our “virtual” (ZOOM) prayer room at 7:00. God hears our prayers, whether they are audible or silent . . . in fact, He wants to hear them! E-mail the church office for the ZOOM link.
Last year’s annual meeting was cancelled because of the COVID situation; the Government of Ontario has mandated that charitable organizations cannot miss two years in a row. We have scheduled this year’s meeting for May 16 following our service. I will share a review of what has happened at Trinity Church in the past year in our message (from Ezekiel) even as we ask God to direct our dreams and goals for the future.
Our prayer for the times ahead . . .
- that God would grant the Trinity congregation a greater understanding of how we can serve the community around the church through being an engaged church community;
- that God would grant an outpouring of His Holy Spirit as we take this imposed time of isolation and rest and search for direction in preparation for God to work though the church once restrictions have lifted; and
- that God would help the church as we refuse to accept the complacency of normal, and that we would have wisdom and power to engage in being Kingdom people, with Luke 4:18 as our guide to action.
This will be a ZOOM meeting; I will send the links the week before we meet, and we will use an on-line poll to vote (there won’t be much business at the meeting, but a financial statement must be provided and a budget proposed).
Thank you 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 at 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. Thank you!
I apologize for any confusion that may have been created regarding e-transfers – I had created a link to our e-mail address which may have opened your e-mail box. E-transfers are created and then sent through your bank account.
- May 9 Ah, Yes . . . a Mother’s Day message
- May 16 rattle – our year end review
- May 23 Pentecost
- May 30 Invasion
- Jun 6 District Assembly Service
- Jun 13 a service of music and celebration
- Jun 20 How Holy (Pleasing the Father)?
We were anticipating . . . but . . . we just don’t know how to plan. Some of our Sunday themes will stay as announced while others will change. That’s OK . . . we’ll just “roll”.
Staying the same: Misfit Motorcycle Rally Day, May 30
We hope to host the third annual (although the second actual) Misfit Motorcycle Rally Day the last Sunday of May. When we began this outreach to those in the Ottawa Misfits group we had a full day, starting with breakfast, followed by a service and a “blessing of the bikes”. Breakfast is not “on the menu” this year; however, we will invite our “misfit friends” to our service for a blessing (personal as well as bike) if provincial COVID protocol changes.
Staying the same: District Assembly Service, June 6
This year’s District Assembly will be a condensed virtual gathering on Zoom and will be live streamed on the District YouTube Channel Saturday, June 5th between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Local churches will elect delegates to the Assembly. A District Online “Family Reunion” service to be held the following day; this will take the place of our local worship service. It will be streamed to the District YouTube channel.
Date change: Service of Music and Celebration, now June 13
We invite everyone to participate by sharing one song or reading or musical performance in our yearly spring service of music and celebration! Barb will share a song story (I’m looking forward to knowing more of the background of the song she has chosen – you’ll have to wait to find out what it is). Others have indicated they’ll participate. Let me know if you want to be part of this great day.
Because of the number of participants, please chose one song and let me know what it is. Matt and I will work on a “program order”.