TCC Flash - Weekly News
The Meaning of Happiness| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
I have a friend who is an Episcopal priest and a pastoral psychotherapist. He tells the story about how he was miserable, so he began therapy. After years of therapy, he said, “I had a good handle on why I was miserable, but I was still miserable.” Then he started working with a new therapist who asked him instead, “What makes Rob happy?” It changed his life and career. He now asks people what they love to do and to keep doing it. He asks churches when are they at their best and to do more of it. He focuses on what people value, appreciate and from which they draw life and to do more of that. What you focus on becomes your reality.
Traditionally, psychology has focused on the study of the causes and cures for mental illness. Psychotherapy has relieved much suffering as has what has been discovered in clinical research. But about twenty years ago, some psychologists began to wonder about the benefits that might come from not just studying what makes people ill, but what makes people well. Thus began the field of positive psychology.
The initial focus for this new field was on what makes people happy, as my friend Rob’s therapist did. If traditional psychology focused on what makes people sad or anxious, positive psychology chose to study what makes people happy.
Research in the field of positive psychology is now showing that pursuing happiness in and of itself does not necessarily create happiness. As philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in his autobiography from the mid-nineteenth century, “Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of [human]kind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.” Apparently, the key to experiencing a sense of contentment is not to concentrate on a life of happiness, but rather on a life of meaning.
It turns out that a life grounded in meaning and in the service of ideals beyond one’s self is not just good for the soul, but good for one’s overall happiness and well-being. It is nice when modern science corroborates what we’ve known from ancient Biblical wisdom. Scripture tells us if we seek God and God’s desires for us, joy will follow, which is deeper than happiness. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus said, “and all these things will be yours.” (Matthew 6:33). “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), and “in your presence is fullness of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
C.S. Lewis says it well: “God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there.”
So next time you or I find ourselves wanting a little more happiness in our lives, we would be wise to remember that the surest way to find it is not by chasing after it, but by connecting in a deeper way to God and with what truly gives us meaning and purpose in life.
UCC News| Church Clerk.
There are several local events this month, plus a historic tri-conference annual meeting taking place:
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Friday – June 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM
80s Prom Fundraiser to benefit a transplant patient
Hosted by Phoenix Rising, UCC at Haverhill Elk Lodge #165
Tickets: $30 per person, $50 per couple
Friday – June 23, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Charles Wesley Singers Concert
West Parish Church (Andover)
Free will offering to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lawrence
Friday – June 23, 2017 at 8:00 PM
Drive-In Movie Night at Groveland Congregational Church
Saturday – June 24, 2017; 10:30 AM-2:00 PM
Strawberry Festival at Main Street Church (Amesbury)
Saturday – June 24, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Lantern Festival at West Parish Garden Cemetery
Admission free, but $10 to decorate a lantern
Saturday – July 15, 2017; 8:00 AM-3:00 PM
Rummage Sale at FCC-Rockport
Friday & Saturday – July 21 & 22, 2017; 8:00 AM-3:00 PM
Old Sloop Fair at FCC-Rockport
CONFERENCE AND NATIONAL EVENTS:
Friday-Tuesday, June 30-July 4, 2017
General Synod 30 in Baltimore, MD
Registration now open at http://synod.uccpages.org/
Sunday-Wednesday, July 9-12-2017
UCC Musicians Association National Conference
Simmons College in Boston
Called-To-Care Update| JoJo Scharmer.
The Care Calendar for Doris McPhail has been closed. Thank you for your past generosity and celebrate with Doris as she is much stronger now and no longer needs our assistance. Also, Barbara Buckley's need for a weekly meal (on Thursdays) has ended. Barbara is so very grateful for the love and support, as well as the tasty meals she has received that helped her during a difficult time these past few months.
Thank you for your generosity!
Wanted: TCC Wedding Coordinator| Mercy Delgado.
After many years of devoted service, Cathie Seaman, TCC's Wedding Coordinator, will be retiring from her position at the end of June, 2017. We're very grateful to Cathie for her invaluable assistance, guidance and support to couples preparing to wed, ensuring for them and their families cherished memories of their special day.
Do you have a friendly and cheerful disposition? Are you detail-oriented and pay close attention to the aesthetic value of events and special occasions? Do you have strong interpersonal and communication skills that you wish to put to good use? Being TCC's Wedding Coordinator may be right up your aisle!
The TCC Wedding Coordinator is a paid position, someone who works closely with the bride and groom to help them achieve their vision for their special day. It is also someone who works closely with the Pastor, Musicians, Photographers and Florists to make sure every event goes smoothly and every TCC wedding is a tasteful and beautiful gathering, helping to create cherished memories for the participating families.
If you're interested, please contact the Church Office. Cathie has graciously offered to train the new Wedding Coordinator on the duties and responsibilities needed to effectively perfom this job.
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.