TCC Flash - Weekly News
Seven Deadly Sins and Many More| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
During the Lenten season, I will be preaching a sermon series on the Seven Deadly Sins. The mention of sin usually makes people squirm, even pew sitters. It seems so distasteful. Surely, we all make mistakes, fall short of our professed ideals, and have annoying habits…but sin?! If we understand sin as falling short of the glory of God, of being turned in on ourselves, of breaking fellowship with the Creator and not the way things are supposed to be, then Yes! If God took sin so seriously to send Jesus to “die for our sins” (in all its mystery), then yes, we should pay attention.
The Seven Deadly Sins are:
Pride is an excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation in life.
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than one requires.
Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work and the neglect of your God-given vocation.
In many ways this seems like an artificial list. Why weren’t some sins left off and others added? One website I looked at even offers an opportunity to nominate your own “deadly sins.” Some listed whininess, despair, and watching TV. We could probably add our own. Early Church leaders drafted the list to provide a discipline and framework for monitoring spiritual health and the state of the soul. It was similar to using Rosary beads to help one pray or memorizing a catechism to help one recall the contours of the faith. To come up with such a list was no small feat: the system had to be complex and inclusive enough to implicate a vast range of disgusting human behaviors, yet simple and memorable enough to inspire guilt in an illiterate peasant. Like all spiritual practices, when one forgets their original purpose, which is to connect us to God, they become a dry as dust ritual.
The Church also assembled a list of seven good works (called the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy) that was included in medieval catechisms. They are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give shelter to strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, minister to prisoners, and bury the dead. There is a lot of wisdom in this. A proactive spirituality is much healthier than concentrating on besetting sins. That practice focuses on the negative and leaves a spiritual vacuum. One needs to fill that space with positive action and habits. Avoid sin but practice a virtue. During Lent, therefore, it might be just as helpful to take on a positive discipline (like visiting a shut-in once a week or keeping a journal on scripture readings) rather than giving something up.
Be sure to show up for Worship during the Lenten Season. You won’t want to miss one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It might be your favorite.
Blessings on your Lenten journey,
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Wrapped in Love| Missions Committee.
Church World Service, a leading organization in disaster relief, is always appreciative of our Blanket Sunday tradition each February. Our collection this year will be Sunday, February 11th as well as Sunday, February 18th. Specially marked envelopes are in the pews for your convenience. Ten dollars will supply a needy blanket and can be used for warmth, as a shelter, or as a means to carry belongings – all important functions in a time of a natural disaster and/or other emergency. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, let’s blanket the people with love!! Thank you in advance for your always generous donations to assist our most vulnerable neighbors around the world.
Ham & Bean Supper Tix On Sale This Sunday!!!| Mary Lou Adams.
Ham and Bean Supper: Tickets are now available for a Ham and Bean Supper on March 10, 2018. Ham, beans, coleslaw, cornbread and dessert will be served.
Adults - $8, Children under 10 - $4, and Family (two adults and two children under 10) - $20.
Purchase your tickets during Coffee Hour, from a Friendship Circle member, or call Mary Lou Adams (978-851-5207) to reserve tickets.
A Signup Genius will be available for those wanting to join in the fellowship to set up, prepare and serve the Ham and Bean Supper.
In order to access the Sunday School curriculum information, important dates to remember or about particular programs designed for youth, please visit our Crib Sheet page.
Grade 3 Stole Making in March
Save the Date: Meet the Easter Bunny on 3/18
Enjoy a Cup of Coffee!
Youth and Cell Phones
Information Regarding Snow Cancellations or Delays
General Overview of Religious Education Program
Sunday School Teacher Directory
A Message From Our Music Director| Lucinda J. Ellert.
We have big plans for Easter in the Music Ministry: The Messiah! We’re planning on doing two services, all Messiah, no waiting. The 9:00 a.m. service will feature the Children’s Choirs and will be tailored to their level. The 11:00 a.m. service will present segments appropriate to the day and sung by the Chancel Choir and accompanied by a quartet of string players from the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra. It will all end on a high note with a community sing of The Hallelujah Chorus. To make this happen, we need your help!
We need more children to sing “All We Like Sheep” and “He Shall Feed His Flock” (simplified and shortened for the kiddos).
We need more choir members to sing with the Chancel Choir to fill out our ranks. Anyone can join in on the Hallelujah Chorus, but we need help with the other numbers we’re preparing.
There will be special rehearsals starting on Sunday, February 25th after Coffee Hour. These will go on for as many Sundays as we can (Lucinda is not always able to stay) and last about an hour, so you’ll still get home in time for brunch or the game. As we get closer to Easter, there will be a couple of rehearsals with the orchestra so we’ll be in good shape for Easter Sunday. Of course, anyone who also wants to and can make Thursday rehearsal is more than welcome to join us.
Men’s ACTS Retreat| Mike Wildeman.
When: April 26-29, 2018
Where: St. Thecla’s Retreat Center, Billerica, MA
Men, you are invited to join us for a spiritually uplifting weekend sponsored by St. William Catholic Church. Set aside some time for God and yourself. Get away from your usual busy schedule by joining men like yourself, wise enough to seek His answers to life, family, and eternity. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service. This weekend is an opportunity to strengthen your faith, renew yourself spiritually, and establish friendships with some great people. All Christian men age 21 and older are encouraged to attend. Applications are available at the TCC church office or see Mike Wildeman. For more information, you can contact Mike Wildeman at 978-851-7161 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Called to Care
As a community of Faith, we are Called to Care for one another. Please visit our Called to Care page to learn how you can offer or request care for yourself or for a member of our church family.
Transmogrified| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
One of the great losses of the 1980s was when Bill Waterson stopped drawing his cartoon characters, Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin, you will recall, was a six-year-old imp with a stuffed tiger named Hobbs, who always came to life when grownups weren’t looking. One of my favorite panels was Calvin and Hobbs watching TV. Calvin was luxuriating in the fact that on Saturdays he could get up, gorge himself on Chocolate Sugar Bombs cereal, watch cartoons until his brains turned to oatmeal, and then be cranky and irritable for the rest of the day. Hobbs asks him, “So, how’s it work?” To which Calvin replies, “No brothers or sisters yet.”
A regular adventure of Calvin’s was to “transmogrify,” in his mind’s eye, into Spaceman Spiff who would travel mega light years to distant galaxies battling ten-story monsters covered with what looked like dog slobber. Or he would be “transmogrified” into a ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex with the voice of a six-year-old. Inevitably, Calvin would be transported back from his reverie into the real-life classroom of his guerilla-like first-grade teacher.
Christianity is a religion of transmogrification. An axiom of Christian faith is that it is a transforming faith. The Biblical drama is filled with scenes of people who were constituted one way and after having encountered God were made different. Abraham and Sarah were content to wind down their retirement years in Ur of the Chaldees until God called them to parent a new nation which would bring the redemption of the world. Esther was a peasant woman who found herself as the Queen in a Persian court called upon to intervene for the lives of her fellow Jews in her land. Peter was an impetuous fisherman whose mouth often got him into trouble until the risen Christ transformed him into one of the pillars of the early Church. By its very nature, Christianity is in the business of changing lives. While our changes may not be as dramatic or our callings as staggering as those of Biblical figures, they nevertheless can be just as real and just as transforming.
This Sunday is called Transfiguration Sunday on the Christian calendar. It recalls one of the most famous transforming incidents of the New Testament: the transfiguration of Jesus as witnessed by Peter, James, and John at Mt. Hermon. The details are sketchy on these reports, but it is evident that all involved had a "peak experience," as psychologist Abraham Maslow puts it; something beyond the ordinary that affected their lives profoundly.
Transfiguration Sunday is the hinge on the door between Epiphany and Lent. Epiphany is a season of light and focuses on the teaching and ethics of Jesus; Lent is the season that follows Jesus on his road to Jerusalem to face his opponents and die on Mt. Calvary for the sins of the world.
Think of the contrasts between Mt. Hermon and Mt. Calvary. Here, in this story of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes shine with the glory of God; there, at the crucifixion, the soldiers gamble for Jesus’ clothes. Here in this story, Jesus is surrounded by two great heroes from Hebrew history, Moses and Elijah; there, on the cross, Jesus is surrounded by two common criminals. Here, at the transfiguration, Jesus is witnessed by three male disciples - Peter, James and John; there, at Golgotha, three woman followers are named as witnesses: two Mary’s and Salome. Again, this scene of transfiguration is a scene of dazzling light, while at the crucifixion Matthew tells us that darkness came over the whole land. Here, in this scene, Jesus basks in God’s presence; there he suffers the hell of God’s absence and cries out, “My God why have you forsaken me?” Here on the mountain, God confesses Jesus as God’s son. There, in utter abandonment, it is left to a Roman centurion to blurt out, ‘” Truly this man was God’s son.”
Transfiguration, for Jesus, was a spiritual mountain peak. His exodus lay before him. During Lent, we walk with Jesus to his next mountain, Mt. Calvary. On Easter morning we will see the cycle completed where he will be transfigured again, but this time by his resurrection.
May God’s transforming grace be with you as we prepare for Lent,