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



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30
March 30, 2020

Our strange and unprecedented days continue. Some people are longing for life to get back to normal. Might I suggest that it never will – that the normal that was will not resemble the normal that will be once normal returns?  Last week I suggested that we have allowed busyness to rule our lives and that many of us have forgotten how to relax or to “not do”. Why would we want to return to that once all this has passed? Why would we want to go back to running from place to place . . . like monkeys jumping around in a banana tree (as Henri Nouwen put it)? 

We have been given the opportunity – forced, almost – to change the way we do things, to re-evaluate priorities. Take this quiet time of solitude that you have been given and use it to find where God wants you to go and be in the days ahead.

And even though social distancing now rules our lives, we can still stay – we still need to stay – connected. Remember those who are  truly isolated. Aloneness can turn into loneliness, and loneliness to despair – even to those who know the love of God. So again I encourage you to keep in touch one with another. 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 looking after one another. Make it your goal – this week – to contact someone that you normally (there's that word again) wouldn't.

The Monday Musings newsletter was started to keep us informed and updated about the lives and activities of the people of our church. Over time it has turned into just another avenue to announce and inform about church activities. However, it is a little more difficult to update church events when there are none . . . so let's try to return to the original intent. 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, so that we can laugh or cry together (my translation of Romans 12:15 –  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn [NIV]). Just e-mail the church. And I will be keeping in touch with everyone as I can, week to week.

The last two Thursdays I posted brief messages on our FaceBook page. I plan to do this every week, so  you can expect both Monday Musings and Thursday Thoughts until “these times are passed”. I realize that some do not have Facebook accounts, so David is in the process of setting up a YouTube account for our church, and we'll repost these videos and our past services so that everyone has access to them. 

Sunday was another interesting day as we gathered for church in our own way. I have missed our congregational singing (I have since heard that I'm not the only one). Putting a CD on or playing a YouTube video and singing along is just not the same, so I thought that we might give singing together a go in our "service". It did not work. I didn't think about internet lag time (I'm not that much of a techie!) and so to those who put up with me singing a bit of a solo (I could see your faces trying to figure out what was going on) . . . sorry!  

We did meet together through ZOOM, and it was good to have so many of you join us. The meeting ID will be the same next week as it was last week (I'll send it out to you again Friday). And when ZOOM says that we have half an hour, we have half an hour! The "service" ended – we were cut off – precisely thirty minutes after I logged us on. So we'll need to be aware. Also, it was suggested that the feedback we were getting might be caused by having people using different devices in the same room. Not that I'm suggesting using social distancing while in the same house (!) . . . maybe I am . . . perhaps families could share devices this coming Sunday, or be in different rooms during our time together, so we can see if that is indeed the problem.

It was so good of Pastor Steve Ottley, our District Superintendent, to join us. These are busy – busier – days for him. We are working to get ready for our District Assembly in June, though it will be different. We are still working on the logistics of how it will happen. Even though we cannot get together, we still need to get together. Reports need to be given and heard. Committees need to be elected – voting needs to be done! I find myself on the computer with on-line and video meetings more than I had ever imagined . . . and his responsibilities are much greater! Pray for him as he leads.

As to the service itself, we do appreciate Rev. Ottley coming on line and sharing. It was not the same, of course, as if he had been here in person as planned, but we as we listened to his brief message we were reminded of God's care and concern for us. We press on, with hope in His strength and power.

We now know that there will not be an on-site service this Sunday – Palm Sunday – and that it is unlikely that there will be a service in our building on Easter Sunday. We have no idea how long the need for social distancing will be in effect. But when we do gather . . . what a day of celebration that will be!

With Palm Sunday on the horizon I'd again point you to an app that will help you with your Holy Week reflections called Easter Now. I have already installed it on my phone and will be using the readings to help me in my Holy Week focus. I recommend it to you – especially as we will not be able to participate in live services through the week.

I'd also like to again express my thanks to you for your faithfulness in remitting your tithes and offerings even though we are not meeting together at the church building. I'll not go over the budget or the needs again, but they don't end, of course, just because we are doing church differently. And I realize that the employment situation is in flux for many and that difficult days may be ahead . . . so thank you for your commitment to Trinity Church.

While we are not meeting in person 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 directly; the church e-mail address is ottawatrinity@rogers.com . We are now set up for auto-deposit. And for those who mail their tithe envelopes to the church, deposits will be made to the bank every second Friday.

Spare time.  Lots of spare time. What a great opportunity this is to sit and listen for God's voice . . . and what a great opportunity it is to read those books that you have wanted to read but have gathered dust on your bookshelf – or that have been on your want-to-buy list. Or, perhaps to re-read.  Or, that you think are so good that others should read! E-books are available from the library, and Chapters is shipping free until April 12. With that in mind, let's call this the Book Corner . . .

In our service Sunday Barb mentioned the title of a book that is just as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1973: Reuben Welch's We Really Do Need Each Other. This is a great book – if you can get hold of it. It is out of print, and while it is not available at Chapters you can find it at amazon.ca – if you dare (see the picture following, taken from the Amazon site)!

It was unintentional, but the next book on my "to-read" shelf was Holy Noticing by Charles Stone (the secular term is mindfulness). Our less-than-busy lives have given us the opportunity to be more aware of the world around us, and Stone gives us some helps – how we can be intentionally aware of our world. It is well worth the read.

And since we're learning how to be quiet, Richard Foster's classic The Celebration of Discipline is a book that every follower of Jesus should read and heed . . . and these are good days to put the disciplines into practise.

What books do you suggest the rest of us read?

Oh, and a video for the week? Click here, and be encouraged!

A reminder: 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. And the garden? There will be a gardening season, though we wonder about the logistics!