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Join us after service today in the Vestry to see an approximately 15-minute video on this past summer’s Mission Trip to South Dakota. This video will feature images from various aspects of the week, interjected with videos of the kids relating how the week impacted them. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee prior to joining us. Many of our youth will be present and will enjoy answering questions about their experiences.
Please note that the date and time for this first meeting have been updated.
You are invited to attend the first meeting of a new Women’s Group on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at 6:30 pm in the Vestry.
This initial meeting will be to organize and socialize in Christian fellowship.
Please join us!
"'Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message.' So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel." - Jeremiah 18:2-3
I have always admired artists of all kinds. Particularly those that have the gift to put paint to canvas.
Recently a friend of mine was going through a tough time in ministry. For various reasons it wasn't working out with the flock God sent him to lead. Things happen in life and they can be devastating. He got a call that he would not be going back to the church. There were many tears and proper closure seemed out of reach.
For the next six or so months he went through a time of reflection with his family. He returned to his former trade to have an income. Another thing that happened was that he picked up the paintbrush and started to create beautiful paintings. The paintings reflected places and times that meant a lot to him. During this time of introspection, he found himself again. He created art in a very challenging time.
Jeremiah is known as the "weeping prophet." Our friends in the Jewish tradition teach that he wrote the Book of Jeremiah and also the Book of Kings along with the Book of Lamentations. It is believed Jeremiah's ministry took place 600 to 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He was known for traveling around Israel calling the nation to repent. Apparently, the people were worshiping another god, Baal, which would be blamed for the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and for the people being exiled from their home for many years.
Jeremiah would receive a vision (noted in Jeremiah 18:1-11) to go down to a potter's house. He observes a potter making clay pots on a wheel. The potter took clay that was "marred" to work it into a better pot. This was what God was going to do with the people of Israel. God was going to take their brokenness and help them make something better. In the case of Israel, they, for the most part, rejected repentance. However, God was going to work something new through their failure.
God is always working in our lives like the potter working the clay. To me, that is how grace works. Through the good times and the bad anything can be used to get the lumps out of our clay. Something better is happening regardless of whether we see it or not. The people of Israel would one day return to their home and rebuild.
That's what is available to all of us. God can take our "marred" clay and help us be rebuilt into something better. Maybe we could also compare it to a beautiful painting that is always being adjusted as the artist is inspired. God is still working in our lives when we create or own mayhem or if it is created by others.
My friend that lost his church is back in ministry. God helped him in disappointment to rebuild. He was given time to think, grow spiritually, and return to ministry with a refreshed outlook. A lot of the lumps were removed from his clay.
Today he is still painting beautiful works of art too. To me, that is what life is...a beautiful work of art constantly in motion.
Please join us for cake and fellowship following the service on September 15th, as we celebrate the Chism family. We are showing our gratitude for Baxter’s first year as Pastor of TCC and our support as they grow their family. If interested in contributing to a group gift card basket for the family, please see Sue Trudeau or send in via mail to the church office.
On Sunday, September 15th, Tewksbury Interfaith Choir will begin rehearsals for its Christmas Concert and invites new and former members to join in the fun and satisfaction of creating beautiful music. Rehearsals will be held at the Tewksbury Congregational Church at 7:15 pm on Sunday evenings.
To sing with the choir requires no audition. The main requirements are the love of singing, especially multi-part music and the commitment to the 13-week rehearsal schedule. You don't even have to know how to read music! (We can help with that!) As usual, the program will include holiday favorites plus some new compositions. Come and join us and bring a friend! Let's get started! Christmas is closer than we realize. For more information call Barbara Flynn at 978-726-6545.
Hello School Bag Sponsors!
Your missions committee and Church World Service thanks you again for your generous sponsorship of a school bag and the supplies necessary to begin a successful school year. You are a blessing to those who would otherwise not have the means to obtain these important items. Bags can be returned throughout the month of September, by simply droppinng them in the clearly marked bin at the side entrance, or handing it off to Joanne Kenney,, when you see her in worship!
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV)
I think a challenging aspect of life is when people don't recognize our contribution to things. Many of us work hard in every role of life. So sometimes we feel hurt. Don't people see me and what I do?
We work hard at our jobs. Many do their best to make a difference in the life of their church. Countless people do their best to provide for their families. You can say that most people in the world really do deserve recognition for a job well done.
But is recognition the most important thing?
Lobbyists work real hard to be recognized in the political realm. They spend billions of dollars to represent their companies and business objectives. In a system not every person can benefit all the time, so what they do may help some but not everyone. When the politicians don't "recognize" what they want their next election will be a little more challenging, to say the least.
I guess what I'm trying to say is there are tons of people who do need recognition. But then there are those who often think they need recognition but it isn't for the right reasons.
Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson in relation to banquets and parties and who should sit where at the table. He is also teaching us about how we should treat recognition. Luke 14:7-14 is a wonderful passage about recognition in the proper way. Check out Verse 14:
14καὶ μακάριος ἔσῃ, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἀνταποδοῦναί σοι, ἀνταποδοθήσεται γάρσοι ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῶν δικαίων.
And you will be blessed because they do not have [the means] to pay you back, for it will be paid back to you in the resurrection of the righteous.”
(Yes. That is original Greek the verse was written you see above with the translation below. I thank Rev. Mark Davis for an excellent translation.)
So how should recognition work? In the Luke passage, Jesus is at the home of a "prominent" Pharisee. Understanding the cultural norms of that time, the person in question most likely had the respect of the establishment and some wealth. To invite people to your home and eat was an expensive endeavor.
Jesus uses this time to teach a lesson with a parable. Apparently He noticed that the people attending were sitting in places of honor as they chose. But what happens if someone higher in the pecking order shows up and wants your seat? Jesus warns that this may cause some embarrassment. Why? Because that person wasn't being recognized as they thought they should. Ouch!
The following story is one I have heard many times. It is always a blessing when new people visit a church. They have no clue that where they sit may be where the Jones family has sat for years or eternity. And then the Jones family shows up and asks the new family to move. Oh, how we pastors cringe when we hear and experience these happenings.
Jesus would go on to say don't invite people who you owe something to or want to owe you something. Don't even invite your immediate family and such. Invite people who don't have the means to have such a big party. Help the poor and include people not being included. Give up your "place" at the table and move down to another place.
And what about recognition? God will recognize you in the end. You may go your whole life without being recognized, but God has taken notice. Your humility and service will be recognized because you thought in eternal ways. You understand that although recognition by your peers ("payback") is wonderful, it is not required because everything you do was to serve God and further the kin-dom.
So what about recognition? Maybe not expecting it from others is for the best. There may come a time when you are recognized by your peers out of the blue, which is even better. And even better than that will be that day when God recognizes you.
We had a great time as a church family at the Lowell Spinner's game on August 10th. The Spinners beat Vermont so it was a night of victory. Looking back on the Summer of 2019, I will always cherish the fun we had. Thanks to Erin Anderson and our Outreach Committee for planning the event!
It's been a great summer but I'm excited that fall is almost here. Most of the weather services have the high temps during the day from the upper 60's to the low 70's this weekend. The low temps are supposed to be in the upper 40's or 50's. We will get a taste of fall before summer comes to an end.
A lot of fun things happen when fall arrives. The Patriots' first game is just around the corner and will they win another Super Bowl? For those of us who love college football, that starts as well. It is time for me to get some new Auburn Tigers gear to wear. Football and fall just go together like peas and carrots.
More important than the weather and the sports some of us love is that we get back into our normal church routine. School starts and everybody will be back from vacations. Our Rally Sunday will be on September 8th and our Choir will be back! This time of year is full of energy and excitement.
A new thing we will be doing is introducing small group opportunities. Mary Lou Adams has done a lot of work with small groups this summer. I'm very thankful for our leadership. So please continue to look for wonderful opportunities for all of us to connect to a small group very soon.
I know this is not Pentecost but to me, the excitement in the church is very similar to what we have every fall. One may also compare it to starting a new year with new hope. Chapter 2 of the Book of Acts captures an excitement I wish we all had. The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost. Peter delivered a wonderful sermon and many became followers of Christ. We also know that fellowship and the joy of being together were shared. At the end of Chapter 2 it says, "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.'
I think one of the blessings of being together, especially in a small group setting, is that we get time to slow down from the hectic pace of life. We are given time to take care of our soul. We also are given a setting to walk life with others by "enjoying the favor of all people" because sometimes we may feel lonely. But most of all we are given the time to be in the presence of God in a beautiful setting.
When I think of the end of Acts 2 I think about authentic community. And when I think of authentic community I think about the "kin-dom" of God, a beautiful place where we live life together as we follow Jesus. We openly affirm all people in their joy and pain and their imperfections. Our hearts seek to connect closer and closer to God and also to those we worship with every week. And we carry this spirit with us when we encounter new people because God is doing something new in us.
Yes. I'm excited that fall is almost here. It is very exciting that God is doing new things through us and around us. My heart rejoices that I get to experience it firsthand.
For those of you reading this that have been away for a while, don't be scared to jump back in this fall season. It is a wonderful time of the year!
Please join the congregation on the front lawn of the church for Summer refreshments and homemade treats! Come enjoy some peach cobbler and some lemonade!