To The Point for April 22 2020

A Word about the Word

The body is a unit…So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. [1 Corinthians 12:12–13]

If you know anything about the Corinthian church to whom the above words were written, you know that it was ripped apart by factions and divisiveness. And if you know anything about people—our time in isolation together, our season of stress, even our not being together physically as a body—you know that this season could also produce strife and discord. Don’t let it! In his caution to the church, Paul’s emphasis is that there is but one Holy Spirit and that he is the Spirit of unity. Repeatedly the Apostle urges unity by reinforcing their common bond who is “the one Spirit,” and “the same Spirit.” We have that Spirit and calling today. Let’s be sure we are staying in step with the Spirit who will strengthen our unity.

Close to Home

“So, when can Trinity do church in person again?” We are still very much “doing church” these days, but I get the drift of the question. We are all eager to return and resume our in-person fellowship with the Trinity family. And we also want to ensure everyone’s health and safety when we do. We are listening to our civil leaders and following the guidelines that they are issuing. As we all heard, on May 1, Ohio cracks the door open just a wee bit. And the President’s three-phase plan allows for religious gatherings in Phase 1, if those gatherings follow strict social distancing protocol and good hygiene. Is that a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

“Could we meet sometime in mid-May?” Maybe. But I don’t want to get fixated on a date that is impossible to predict at this time. Just as Ohio will have to take steps to return back to “normal,” so we should all anticipate that corporate gatherings will also need to take gradual steps back to “normal.” So, what I can tell you is that when we do re-open for worship, there will be clear social distancing measures in place and families will be in worship together (i.e., we will not immediately have children’s Sunday classes). We will also continue to support and emphasize our livestream worship on Facebook. Other ministries will restart when deemed appropriate.

Now, my mentioning of mid-May is not just because it seems possible that may be where Ohio is headed, but that is also when our Worship Center will be “ready.” Before this pandemic invaded us, we drew up plans for renovation and a number of generous people gave specifically for our worship space to be beautifully redone. So the good news is that when we do re-open, we will enjoy the freshness of a nice, new space! 

The World as It Is

One of the issues that this quarantine has highlighted is the preoccupation that our culture has with food. For some, it is just that: a preoccupation. “I’m just a foodie,” I hear people say. For others, eating is a source of delight and fellowship. “I’m Italian,” others might declare. 🙂 And still for others, it is a serious problem of control and addiction. I used to do some counseling in this area.

We interact with food many times a day and yet it can be the cause of a lot of stress and even guilt, especially during these days of quarantine. And we read endless advice on how we should diet and eat properly, what’s okay and what’s not…ad nauseum! Diane Summers of the Hope Nutrition Center says this: “Diet culture is the nearly–70 billion-dollar industry that is preying on all of us and promoting this sense of inadequacy that we must strive for another body.” To desire to eat healthily is one thing. To base our self-worth on our body image is another. And it is unwise and quite hurtful. It is not what God desires for us at all.

We have all heard about the dreaded “Quarantine 15”. Yes, let’s be careful that we don’t mindlessly overeat during this time. But let’s also not shame ourselves for desiring and enjoying that delicious meal or that wonderful ice cream. God gave us taste buds that we might truly experience and enjoy food. May this season improve all of our relationships with food.

A couple words from the Scriptures and then I’ll leave it at that:

I know that there is nothing better for people than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. [Ecclesiastes 3:12–13]

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. [1 Corinthians 10:31]

 #CultureNerd

Okay, on a significantly lighter note check this out.

And here’s the Isaac Newton “year of wonders” video I described on Sunday. Talk about a productive quarantine period! Not just gravity, but calculus and optic theories! What an overachiever! I do feel like a lug. Where’s that quart of Mitchell’s? Just kidding.

And Then There’s This…

A prayer for our day from Clement of Rome (first century):

We beseech You, Master, to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us; have mercy on the lowly;
Raise up the fallen; appear to the needy; heal the ungodly;
Restore the wanderers of Your people;
Feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners;
Raise up the sick; comfort the faint-hearted.

I’ll see you on Sunday (virtually).
Paul