Monday Musings Weekly
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our weekly e-newsletter . . . with random thoughts from the Pastor.


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March 23, 2020

How many times have you heard it already? These are strange days. Unprecedented days. It may be that life will not return to the way it was. Perhaps it shouldn’t. We have allowed busyness to rule our lives and many of us have forgotten how to relax or to “not do”. As well, we as a society have put far too heavy an emphasis on having things. We have indeed (as Fletcher Tink once said) turned away from being customers and have become consumers. This time of isolation is a good time to reflect on what we have become – as a society and as individuals – and decide who we will be in the future.

This is a good time to renew our spiritual lives. A pastor friend of mine put it this way: I hear it all the time, “I don’t have time to read my Bible.” Well, you do now. Take some time to sit and talk with God. He wants to hear from you and can calm your anxiety. And I say “well put!” We (that’s the “royal we”) have complained so often about how busy we are (sometimes we have used our busyness as ego-booster – “see how important I am”). Now that we are isolated we have started to complain that we have too much time to fill in. Read your Bible! Read the classics (Christian and secular). Take the opportunity you have been given to grow . . . then, grow! Use this time to wait on God.

This time of social distancing can also be – is also – a blessing for families. Our busy lifestyles have affected relationships in-home. We have programmed our time to the nth degree, with lessons and activities and work . . . we have neglected play time together. So cook a meal together. Sit at the dinner table, and talk . . . the dishes can wait; you aren’t going anywhere anyway (Netflix can wait too!). Pull out a jigsaw puzzle and work on it together. Play a game. If we just relaxed and spent time as a family, we might learn just how enjoyable it is to slow down as we enjoy our loved ones.

Of course, not everyone has someone in-house with them. Some truly are isolated. Remember them. Loneliness can easily set in. Even to those we do not expect it to happen to. Call. Or write. Or text. Or e-mail. Or face-time. Be intentional – we are not just a Sunday people seeing one another once a week, We are a caring community (or we say that we are), looking after one another. If you would like our latest directory e-mail me at the church, and I’ll send a copy to you. Let’s be there for one another!

The purpose of our Monday Musings newsletter is to keep us informed and updated about the life and activity of our church – of the people of our church. Let me know if anything “interesting or distressing or ???” happens in your life in the next little while so that I can pass it on to others to pray. Just e-mail the church. And I will be keeping in touch with everyone as I can, week to week.

Last week I posted a brief message on our FaceBook page. I’ll do so again this week – you can expect both Monday Musings and Thursday Thoughts until “these times are passed”. Just, as I said, keeping in touch with one another.

There seems to be some confusion about what social distancing is. I think that we get it, but just in case . . . here is some further clarification: gatherings are permitted as long as the group is no larger than 1 person.

With gatherings limited to “groups of 1”, yesterday’s service did not go on as planned. And nothing was streamed live. The worship team did not join me at the church to lead in song (there was no “mini-concert” as I suggested last week). And we did not conclude our mini-series with a message on being Saints in the Making.

It was an interesting day, and different congregations “did church” in different ways. Some streamed their services live (and so many people tried to watch them that servers crashed and the services couldn’t be seen). Some churches pre-taped their services and posted them on-line to be watched later. One innovative congregation in Ottawa had a drive-in service! We . . . we did things even more differently. We didn’t have a worship service at all . . . and people traditionally think of worship services. But that doesn’t mean that the church didn’t meet!

There were many good on-line worship services yesterday with great messages preached (and I hope that when you attend “Trinity live” you feel you are sensing both), but church is more – much more – than a service. As Anthony Evans says, You not only go to church to meet with God, but also to meet with God’s family. So rather than sit and watch a service online, we took the opportunity for the church community to meet and to encourage one another in their faith walk via ZOOM conference.

There was no message. We had just a short time to be together and I felt that it was more important for us to connect with one another and interact than to sit and watch what could have turned into a performance. We’ll do that again this coming Sunday. I’ll send out the link so that we can meet at 11:00 . . . to see one another and to talk with one another. I’ll share briefly . . . we’ll pray together . . . and we’ll connect . . . the church gathering!

We know that there will be no on-site services until at least Palm Sunday, and even that service is only a possibility. We have no idea how long the need for social distancing will be in effect. We’ll plan to gather that day – and what a day of celebration that would be . . . a double triumphal entry!  We’ll just wait and see . . . about Palm Sunday, about Good Friday, and about Easter Sunday.

I’ve been pointed to an app that will help us with our Holy Week reflections called Easter Now. I have already installed it on my phone (confession: I used the “Get access early” link to take a quick look at it) and will be suing the readings to help me in my Holy Week focus). I recommend it to you – especially if we cannot get out for services. Get it from your app store.

We do know that the music and worship night with JCL planned for April 26 has been cancelled – postponed, rather, until September. We’ll know better about the church work day, the Annual Meeting, the music and worship day, and the motorcycle rally day as time passes.                        

For those who wondered . . . while we are not meeting for our worship services you can still share your tithes and offerings electronically. Click here to go directly to our on-line giving site (there is a drop-down menu so that you can direct your giving to our different ministries). You will be able to immediately print a receipt. You can also e-transfer to the church: is the church e-mail address. We are trying set up auto-deposit.

Ah, finances . . . my least favourite topic. I try to avoid talking about them as much as I can, and pass that task on to our treasurer whenever possible. However, the best way to communicate what is happening is through our Musings, so it falls to me to let you know what is happening.

Unfortunately, we have recently had some unplanned for and unbudgeted expenses. A sensor on our furnace quit working and would only kick in when the temperature rose over 64°F (about 18°C). It did not get that warm in January, so we had to call in our HVAC company. It took almost 3 days for them to get the furnaces working properly (the nursery school was shut down during that time).  

As you know, the nursery school applied for and was given a grant by the City of Ottawa and used the funds to install new outside doors. Unfortunately, the grant did not cover all costs, and they have asked us to help with the over-run on the charge for installing the electrical on the push buttons for accessibility (they will cover the other over-runs). There are additional charges to upgrade the security system as well.

Of course, the Nursery School has closed and the Spanish congregation is not meeting. This will also affect our budgeted income. Add to that the fact that some of our people have been affected by the shut-downs and are no longer working or earning a salary. All this to say . . . please continue to be faithful with your giving. Thank you.

Is surreal the right word? It was just strange this morning as I drove in to the church to get these Monday Musings ready. . The streets were nearly empty . . . no hubbub . . . no ado . . . almost desolate! It reminded me of the old Gaither song “The King is Coming”. Click here to watch it on YouTube.

It’s too bad that you can’t see what I can see in person. While the front doors don’t look quite as I expected they would (there is not as much glass as I thought there’d be) they look nice none-the-less. They open easily . . . and they actually close properly!