TCC Flash - Weekly News
Sibling Rivalry?| Rev. Baxter Chism.
The story in the Bible about the two sisters, Mary and Martha, is one we like to talk about. Maybe it's because this story is easy to relate because it has to do with family dynamics. Many of us have a sibling or a sibling-type relationship with its own dynamics. The story is easy to get into and discuss.
We overhear in Luke 10:38-42 two sisters who welcome Jesus into their home. Martha is working behind the scenes to make sure everything is going according to protocol. Mary is relaxing at Jesus' feet and spending time with Jesus. Martha thought Mary should have been helping her. She asked Jesus if He shared her disappointment with Mary. To me, Martha is not only seeking agreement with Jesus, she is also saying He should have corrected Mary because she was not doing what should have been customary.
Let me just say we pick on Martha too much because of how Jesus interacted with her. It would seem that Jesus applauds Mary, who isn't doing any work. Martha is only practicing the custom of her time to welcome people into her home and making sure they experience wonderful hospitality. This is something we can relate to. It is a lot of hard work to welcome guests to our home. It changes our routine. We have to make sure there is enough food and maybe fresh linens for the guest bedroom if they stay overnight. I get you, Martha! She needed help from Mary.
Recently, I was talking to a gentleman who was disappointed with his siblings. He had taken on the responsibility of taking care of his mother who was elderly. He disliked that they did not help a lot. I shared with him that not every person has the gift of responsibility. Maybe they were going through some things that he was unaware of. I tried to encourage him with the fact that he was using one of his gifts to take care of her. Yes, it is hard work, but he was doing a good thing. I also reminded him of the sacredness of the relationship with his mother. Be present with her.
Martha asked Jesus if He cared. Of course He did. However, Jesus was never driven by sticking to all the rules of his day. This is the same guy who would heal people on the sabbath and break bread with people considered unworthy. So what is wrong with breaking the rules of hospitality?
Jesus wasn't telling Martha to stop being hospitable and such. The challenge was for her to be like Mary this one time and maybe realize that this is a special moment. This was a time for her to just be with Him because time was short. Instead of all the work, he was challenging her to be in the moment. Like Mary, He wanted Martha to sit and listen and worship. That was the "only one" thing needed at that time. All the other things were secondary.
So how does this apply to us? Many times we get lost in the things we do for God. We are so enthralled with the details we forget the most important thing: God is present. But we are doing what we are supposed to do, right? The challenge is to acknowledge God is present and God seeks us to be present as well.
Celebrate God's presence in our life by being present. Quit letting the rivalry of things overwhelm us because God is present!
The Gift of Tradition| Sue Trepaney.
One year, while working in the church office, the late Eleanor Corey arrived in a huff telling me that if anyone cut down the trees in front of TCC, she would strap herself to one of the trees and forbid the tree folks from cutting it down. I’m sure that if Eleanor could duplicate herself, she’d be attached to both trees. Luckily, the Trustees decided to have the trees trimmed rather than removed. We can all rejoice in that decision as we enjoy lemonade Sunday mornings through the efforts of Bob and Rita Masters. One cannot help but see the power of prayer in that couple. Rita suffered an extreme case of Guillain-Barré Syndrome that most of us visiting Rita felt she would not overcome. But through the miracle of Rita’s determination, Bob’s support, the help of various doctors, and of course, the power of God’s healing grace, we see the results.
It has been a summertime tradition at TCC to enjoy lemonade outside under the trees. Rita and Bob took up that challenge this year mostly through a decision made in faith—would Rita be able to cook all those wonderful goodies she supplies every Sunday and would the weather hold out so we could enjoy this event? Rita’s baking skills have not diminished since her illness—she’s made some wonderful treats, often highlighting the season—to celebrate July 4th, cookies made to represent slices of watermelon, the following week, a cake decorated in colorful red, white and blue sprinkles. Fresh fruit is supplied for those who don’t want to eat baked goods.
Natalie Thistle, our poet in residence, would be proud of the Masters as in her poem ‘A Special Place’ rejoices in ‘There’s a little brick church in the village—with a message of peace to impart—and where we leave with a song in (my) our hearts—”
Thanks to the Sunday messages of hope provided by our Rev. Chism from the pulpit, and the gift of a cool beverage on a Sunday morning, our special place remains just that!
Summer Refreshments on the Lawn!| Mercy Delgado.
Please join the congregation on the front lawn of the church for Summer refreshments and homemade treats, courtesy of Rita and Bob Masters!
It's Time for Some Baseball!| Erin Anderson.
Here it is! The event of the summer! TCC’s “Bring a Friend to the Spinners” night on August 10th! Bring a friend to the baseball game and watch our own Pastor Baxter throw out the first pitch!
Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased via the web at https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/youraccount.asp?&submit=Continue&Cookies=yes&HoldID=21282 (user ID: tewksburycc, password: outing) or by calling the box office at 978-459-1702 and mentioning Tewksbury Congregational Church.
If you have any questions, please contact Erin Anderson or the church office. We hope to see you and your friends at the game!
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.
Update on Summer Office Hours| Mercy Delgado.
Please note that the church office will be open Tuesday-Thursday, July 16th-July 18th, 2019, from 11:00 am-4:00 pm. This revised schedule is for one more week. The church will resume its Summer Hours schedule the week of July 22nd-26th, 2019.
The church office will be closed on Mondays and Fridays and will be open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm during the months of June, July and August.
The office will resume its normal schedule of Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm right after Labor Day weekend, and will be open on Friday, September 6th, 2019.
Have a wonderful Summer!
Click HERE to view all TCC Sign-ups!| Church Secretary.
Click HERE to launch our TCC Sign-up Genius page. Use the tabs to switch between the sign-ups. Thank you for lending a helping hand!
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.
Sabbath Rest| Pastor.
The beauty of New England summers is that we have an opportunity to kick back, put our toes in the cool Atlantic waters, grill our world famous rib eye steaks, and camp with our families in deep, cool, woods. (Along with bugs, Poison Ivy and sweltering heat.)
The trouble is that we often only do that during the summer. We cram the rest we should have been taking throughout the year into three months. It’s a uniquely American habit. Unlike most European countries American workers get only two weeks of vacation per year and a bump to three or four after many years of service. That’s because we live in a materialistic, consumer-driven society. “I owe, I owe, so off to work we go,” as the riff on the Disney tune from Snow White goes.
The Jewish and Christian faiths have a radically different approach to time and work. Moses commanded the people of Israel to "remember" the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) as he reminded them of their distinctiveness as the people of God. It is rooted in the Creation story where God created the earth and the cosmos in six days and then rested admiring the wondrous universe. Can we as finite creatures who get tired, wear out and need downtime do anything less than the Sovereign of the Universe?
Dorothy C. Bass in her book Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time) writes, “To act as if the world cannot get along without our work for one day in seven is a startling display of pride that denies the sufficiency of our generous Maker.”
Spiritual theologian Eugene Peterson (author of the biblical translation The Message) reminds us that the morning is not when a day begins, but in the evening. "And there was evening and there was morning-the first day” (Gen. 1). While we are lost in our slumbers God is restoring tired bodies, knitting together broken bones, and tending to the cosmos. Before we wake God has already been busy working through the night through the agency of the laws of nature.
Deuteronomy (5:12-15) fleshes out the commandment to “observe” the Sabbath by insisting that no one, not even animals, shall work without respite. This practice was to remind the Israelites that they once were slaves to Pharaoh who forced them to labor seven days a week without rest.
So how might we do this?
Taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon (or at other times) is a wonderful way to respect your body’s need.
Taking care of yourself by drinking enough water, taking a vitamin, or brushing your teeth are good practices even as you help others.
Getting out into nature either by taking a walk with the dog or a friend, bicycling, or gardening can be good Sabbath activities.
Having lunch with a close friend can be restorative.
Keep a spiritual memoir or devotional guide by your bed to read before you retire.
Write in a journal regularly about your thoughts, life activities, wonderings, and emotions. Gather them up in a prayer you write at the end.
What are some of your own ideas?
As Dorothy Bass reminds us, "Sabbath keeping is not about taking a day off but about being recalled to our knowledge of and gratitude for God's activity in creating the world, giving liberty to captives, and overcoming the powers of death."
The first step in keeping a Sabbath is to put it into your calendar.