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UPDATE! - Due to the expected snow and anticipated low attendance on Sunday, the MIT store will be post-poned to the following Sunday, January 27th
Parents, please be prepared to have your children visit the Missionaries in Training store on Sunday, January 20th. They can shop from 9:00 to 9:30 and then again immediately following worship. This program continues to teach the children the value of what they have earned and the good works that can be done with it. The attached document shows what items will be for sale this Sunday. We will have just four stores available this time around: Tewksbury Food Pantry, Lowell Transitional Living Center, Soldier On and Lazarus House. Because the current need is so great, all monies spent at Lazarus House, here in Lawrence, MA, will be doubled by the missions committee!
Please also remember that if you have a favorite charity that you would like to see represented at the next MIT store, send an email along to myself or any of the members of the missions committee and you may see it represented during our next big sale!
Attached File: 31For Sale January 2019.pdf
"Part of our covenant with the United Church of Christ is participate in the work of the wider church. As such, we are entitled to send a couple of lay delegates to association and conference annual meetings and TCC bylaws call for their election at the Budget Session of our annual meeting. Association delegates attend the meeting in May, the fall gathering, and any Ecclesiastical Councils which may be called. Conference delegates attend the tri-conference annual meeting November 1-2 in Worcester. If you are interested in learning more about either of these roles please contact Christopher Jenkins."
As you know, the members of TCC voted to suspend our bylaws to allow us to explore a new governance model. The Board of Ministries has been working on bringing more details to the new model and will present the proposed changes immediately following the Budget Information Session that will begin at 11 am in the Vestry. The input of our congregation in this process is critical as we continue forward with the new governance model.
We are coming into the busy season for our churches as there is a plethora of concerts, fairs, etc. to choose from. This is a great time of year to visit neighboring churches. We continue to pray for and support our neighbors, including a couple of churches, which were impacted by the gas explosions. See https://www.macucc.org/newsdetail/conference-and-local-churches-respond-to-gas-explosions-in-merrimack-valley-12288711 for more information.
We welcome Rick Durance as our new Administrative Assistant in the Winchester office and thank Rev. Beth Spaulding for filling that role during the search process.
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Friday – December 14, 2018, at 6:00 PM
Polar Express at 2CC-Boxford
Tickets: $12 by 12/12 at http://www.secondchurchboxford.org/event/polar-express-movie-dinner
Saturday – December 15, 2018, at 5:00 PM
Outdoor Christmas Pageant at West Parish Church
Saturday – December 15, 2018, at 5:00 PM
Roast Beef Dinner at 2CC-Beverly
Saturday – December 15, 2018, at 8:00 PM
One Night of Grace with Danny Smith
Main Street Congregational Church (Amesbury)
Tickets: $20 at the door
Sunday – December 16, 2018, at 2:00 PM
Carol Sing at 2CC-Beverly
The Board of Ministries will provide an informational session this Sunday (1/13) at 11 am in the Vestry to discuss the proposed FY19 Operating Budget. The Board met with representatives of each board and committee recently to find a balanced budget that supports the missions and goals of TCC. This informational session is required by our bylaws, and will allow for the Board of Ministries to make any necessary adjustments to the budget prior to the membership voting on the budget at the Budget Session of the 285th Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 27 at 11 am.
As on every Communion Sunday, the LOVE Offering envelopes will be available in the pews for those who wish to contribute to TCC's Deacon's Charitable Fund, which is primarily used to purchase Market Basket gift cards for those in our community who are finding it hard to make ends meet.
If you feel called to contribute, simply place your offering in the LOVE envelope and add it to the plate when the Offertory is collected. If you are not in regular attendance on Communion Sundays but wish to assist with this ministry, you are invited to send your contribution to the church office and mark it, "Deacon's Charitable Fund." Your support is warmly appreciated.
Hello TCC Gentlemen,
It is that time again to start planning for this summer’s annual Jack Hall Memorial Golf Outing at Lake Morey in Vermont. We will play on the weekend of July 26 – 28th and the schedule for the weekend will be:
Friday, July 26th
Morning rounds beginning at 9:06 am (all players)
Afternoon rounds beginning at 2:57 pm
Saturday, July 27th
Morning rounds starting at 8:21 am (all players)
Afternoon rounds beginning at 2:12 pm
Sunday, July 28th
Morning rounds starting at 9:15 am (all players)
Prizes and awarding of the trophy at lunch
For those who haven’t gone before, or who have forgotten how this works, the competition for the Friday and Saturday morning rounds is team-based, while the afternoon rounds are individual. The entire weekend is an individual contest as well, which is based on net score taking into consideration the handicap of the player which ranges in the group from the single digits to the 40’s! That being said, this is a relaxed competition that is about having a good time with a great group of guys.
As we welcome in the New Year, it would be WONDERFUL if we all might share the responsibility of managing the volunteer duties that help to make our Sunday worship more warm and welcoming.
Might you (or your child) be willing to change the church sign?
How about greeting at the front door for 20 minutes before worship?
Would you be willing to make coffee (supplies provided) for fellowship?
Do you have an occasion (celebration/memorial/other) to provide altar flowers?
Please use this link to add your name to our currently bare sign-up lists. Thank you for your role in making Sunday worship extra special for our members and friends.
Dear TCC Church Family,
Happy New Year! I pray you have had a wonderful start to 2019. We are about to end another Christmas Season and celebrate Epiphany this Sunday. I've been taking a few vacation days this week so I'm going to share this wonderful commentary of when the Magi visited Jesus. I hope you learn as much from it as I have. It is by Stephen Hultgren.
Some congregations choose to use the Epiphany readings on the second Sunday after Christmas. In the Western Church, the visit of the Magi seems to have been associated with Epiphany from the beginnings of the festival. The origins of the Epiphany festival are obscure. As the name suggests (epiphaneia), however, the festival seems to have focused from the beginnings on the “revelation” of God in Jesus (originally including celebration of the birth of Jesus, before the Christmas festival was instituted).
Popular interest in the story may focus on such things as the names of the Magi (or “three kings”),the giving of gifts, the star of Bethlehem, and King Herod’s machinations. However, the historical details of the story are difficult to substantiate. It should be observed that the story has an important narrative function in Matthew. The visit of the Magi to “worship” (or “pay homage to”) Jesus alarms Herod, who, after he has been fooled by the Magi (2:16), will resolve to kill all the (male) children in Bethlehem and environs two years and younger. Herod’s plot constitutes the reason for the holy family’s flight to Egypt and return. The flight to and return from Egypt together with the slaughter of the innocents serve to make Jesus into a type of both Moses (who was also delivered from a cruel tyrant; Exodus 1-2) and the nation of Israel as a whole (God’s “Son” whom he called out of Egypt; Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1). As such Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy and of the history of Israel. Later in Matthew Jesus will play the role of a new Moses (5:1) and of a new “Israel” in the wilderness who remains faithful to God in temptation (4:1-11). So also the story of the Magi shows Jesus to be the fulfillment of prophecy (see below). The interpreter and preacher must keep the story’s narrative function and theological emphases in mind.
The story in Matthew can be divided into five scenes: the arrival of the Magi (2:1-2); Herod’s alarm and consultation of the priests and scribes (2:3-6); Herod’s request of the Magi (2:7-8); the Magi’s visit and adoration of the Christ child (2:9-11); and the departure of the Magi (2:12). The first, third, and fourth scenes are punctuated by the verb “worship” or “pay homage” (proskynein), which highlights a main feature of the narrative: the Magi take the role of the Gentiles who will come paying homage and bringing gifts to the Messiah according to Psalm 72:10-11. The sincerity of the Magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus. In reality, King Herod will try to eliminate this newborn, rival “king of the Jews,” who threatens to usurp his title! Matthew probably has Jesus’ death already in view when he has the Magi refer to Jesus as “the king of the Jews” (2:2) rather than as Christ (cf. 2:4), in anticipation of the charge under which Jesus will eventually be crucified (27:11, 29, 37) (Matthew uses the title only in these places).
The Magi, who are said to come from the “East,” give the story an exotic flavor. Ancient Magi were persons reputed to be adept at astronomy as well as various occult arts, such as astrology, interpretation of dreams, fortune telling, and magic. Here they are clearly thought of as astronomers or astrologers, who have found the rising of a star to be of world-historical significance. It was a common idea in antiquity that the birth or death of great men was accompanied by heavenly signs.
But there is more than meets the eye in the identification of these Magi as from the “East”. The word used for the “East” in the story, anatolai (plural)/anatole (singular), really means “the rising,” that is, the rising of the sun (our word “orient” comes from a Latin word with the same meaning: oriens). The word anatole would have had a number of resonances for the first Greek-speaking, Jewish-Christian hearers of Matthew’s story. First, the rising of the sun in the East readily suggests the imagery of light, which is often associated with salvation in the Bible. The Old Testament reading for the day (Isaiah 60:1-6), to which the Magi story clearly alludes (see especially verses 5-6), begins with the words, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” The verb for “has risen” here, in the Septuagint translation, is anatetalken, from the same root as anatole. Isaiah’s vision of salvation includes a pilgrimage of the nations, who will come to Israel’s light, to worship the God of Israel. The Gentile Magi are to be understood as enacting the fulfillment of this prophecy.
The verb anatellein appears with equal significance in other texts. We may mention first Numbers 24:17 (Septuagint), which speaks of a star that will rise out of Jacob. This verse was interpreted messianically in Judaism, and it is easy to see how a star could become a symbol for the Messiah. The star of Bethlehem is to be understood against the background of that text. The star indicates that the Messiah has arrived. Anatellein appears again in Matthew 4:16. Matthew comments on Jesus’ appearance in Capernaum with a citation of Isaiah 8:23-9:1, which speaks of light shining on those who dwell in darkness. Matthew chooses the verb anatellein (not in the Septuagint). His usage is very similar to Luke 1:78-79, which speaks of the “dawn (anatole) from on high” that “will break upon us” (NRSV), to give light (epiphanai) to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, also an allusion to Isaiah 9:1; 60:1-2.
Finally, the word anatole is used in Jeremiah 23:5 with a different, but related meaning. Here the word refers to the righteous branch of David, that is, the Messiah. The branch that shoots up from a tree is a “rising” of a different kind (cf. Isaiah 11:1).
These (and perhaps other) Old Testament texts have undoubtedly lent their emphases on the coming of light, of the Messiah, and of salvation to the story of the Magi. While Matthew’s gospel ends with the risen Jesus’ command to the disciples to go out from Galilee to make disciples of all nations (28:19), the gospel begins with an anticipatory visit of the Gentiles to Judea to worship the newborn Messiah. The Magi stand for all the nations, including us, who would come to worship Jesus, the Messiah of Israel (Psalm 72:10-11), and see the manifestation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus (Isaiah 60:1-2; cf. John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Dear TCC Family,
I pray all of you had a great Christmas Day and time with your families. This week I'm taking a few vacation days myself.
The following is a commentary from Craig Satterlee concerning the Luke passage I'll preach from on December 30th. He is one of my favorite commentators.
Finally arriving in the temple, Mary and Joseph are astonished to discover amazed teachers and their precocious twelve-year-old son.
If I had been looking for my daughter for three days, I’d have exploded. But Mary and Joseph ask, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” I wonder how Mary really said it. More important, I wonder why Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus in all the wrong places. Why did it take them three days to figure out that Jesus must be in his Father’s house and about his Father’s business?
Had things been so blessedly ordinary for so long -- no more angels, adoring shepherds, and OT prophesies -- that the mystery surrounding their son’s birth had begun to fade like a dream? Or maybe Mary and Joseph were aware of what their son would do and become, but figured that was years away. Perhaps Jesus hadn’t shown any signs of theological curiosity and so his parents couldn’t imagine him hanging out in the temple. Maybe Mary and Joseph simply failed to see that their baby was growing up.
Like Mary and Joseph, we cannot or do not want to see that our Jesus is growing up even as we grow up. Our Jesus is growing beyond our childhood, beyond our children’s childhood. Our Jesus is growing beyond our expectations. Arriving in the temple, Mary saw only her boy. She couldn’t or wouldn’t see that Jesus had grown. Eager to be a good mother, always pondering the events that led up to and followed Jesus’ birth, Mary wasn’t ready to “lend” her Jesus to God. Perhaps she just wanted to keep her firstborn close to her. Maybe she simply wanted to delay the symbolic sword that Simeon announced would pierce her own heart as it took the life of her son.
Looking upon Jesus and seeing her baby, Mary asks, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” And Jesus answers, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” These same questions face us this week after Christmas, as peace and goodwill fade and Christmas leaves so many of us wanting. With Mary, we ask, “Why have you treated us like this?” We ask ourselves; we ask our families. We ask the church and we ask God, when our expectations are shattered.
And Jesus answers, “Why were you searching for me?” We know where Jesus has gone. He’s about his Father’s business. But we aren’t ready to let go of our expectations and give our Jesus to God. We are not ready to accept that Jesus did not come to fulfill our expectations. He is not to be found in sentiment for the way things used to be or the way we wish things could be. Jesus is about the future. Jesus was born and lived and died and rose to be about God’s business of putting an end to our searching by making plain the way to God, even if that means shattering our expectations.
In the Temple, Mary expects Jesus to behave a certain way and Jesus expects his mother to know why he isn’t. The problem is that Jesus and his parents have two different understandings of who Jesus’ Father is. Mary tells Jesus that she and his father have been searching anxiously. The message is plain to any child who stays out all night and upon returning home is greeted with a parent’s frantic, “Do you know how worried I was?” But Jesus responds that he’s been in his Father’s house, about his Father’s business. Again, I wonder just how Jesus said it. Was he surprised or scolding?
Regardless of Jesus’ tone, the tension between Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, and Jesus, Son of God, is heightened. Sure, Jesus returns to Nazareth and is obedient to his parents. But it is clear that his priorities have changed. Jesus’ primary concern is not the will of his parents but the will of God and the mission that God’s will entails.
The good news for us in this week after Christmas is that, like Mary and Joseph, our search has ended. Jesus shows us the way to God. The scary part, perhaps, is that our search doesn’t end where we expect. Mary and Joseph searched three days for Jesus, and on the third day found him alive and well. But they didn’t find him in the expected places -- the safe confines of his extended family or the familiar company of the pilgrims’ caravan. After three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus alive and well in the Temple at Jerusalem among the teachers of the law, the very company where it all will end as Jesus is tried, convicted, and handed over to be killed.
Mary and Joseph find Jesus alive and well after three days in a place they didn’t expect. This sounds like Easter. Yes, Luke’s hint here is of resurrection. Jesus, dead and buried, is raised on the third day, and there is a new temple, Christ’s resurrected body. Our searching will come to an end in new life, meaningful life, the life God intends, but not the life we expect.
But that’s Easter. For now, Jesus returns to Nazareth. He disappears back into the fabric of his hometown. For perhaps two more decades Jesus is in an out-of-the way place, far removed from the centers of religion and politics, in the company of ordinary people, just like us. Here Jesus continues to grow “in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” The good news is that this description of Jesus is the description of every child of God, no matter what our age. We all will grow as we respond to God’s love. In Christ we can expect nothing else.
I pray you enjoyed the commentary.