Where is your joy? – October 2014

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  – Frederick Buechner

Where is your deepest gladness, your truest joy? Where does God most need you? Where these two meet – is probably where we are most called to serve.

I find joy in being outside in nature. Year in, year out, each season brings its own unique joys… The seasons know exactly when to change. Fall is here, right on time… leaves turning already, autumnal colors shining in the beauty of October light and shade…

I often find particular joy in fishing. I don’t think fishing is what God most needs me to be doing in the world every day, but I don’t think God wants me to quit fishing either. It’s a matter of balance. Personal joy and gladness in some measure is probably necessary for renewal and revival of one’s soul. But the deepest gladness I know is the joy that comes in worship, in serving God and neighbor, in fellowship with you and all God’s people… Doing what Jesus says to do together.

Fall is full of opportunities….to cultivate our deepest joy and gladness…

Bible study has re-started, Thursdays in both churches – all invited – 1 pm at Bourne, 6:30 pm at Cataumet. (Check schedules weekly please, there are a few times we’re not meeting). We’re reading through the bible together this year, not so much “studying” as simply sharing our impressions and questions. We’re aiming to cover a chapter or two a day in the Old Testament, a chapter in the New Testament, and a psalm, five or six days a week. I’m encouraging us all to journal as we read, making note of anywhere we feel particularly in touch with God, or made to ponder something in the text.

We have a new “Pastor’s blog” spot on our website – www.bournecataumetparish.org (thanks to web master Brittany Haskell) where I’ll be posting notes from bible group sessions and other topics. You can now post comments or questions there (and also on past sermons posted elsewhere at our website). We can also now view entire worship services at the Bourne public tv website – www.bournecommunitytv.org/programs/aspx .

Sundays after church in October we’re holding a Membership/Methodism class for both Bourne and Cataumet, meeting together at 12:30 weekly at Bourne. These sessions are for any and all considering becoming a member or curious about basic Methodist beliefs. All welcome.

Our parish Pumpkin Patch is suddenly very full of pumpkins. What a lot of them there are! We received not quite 3000 pumpkins on the last Sunday of September. What joy to unload this year– thanks to all who helped – from our churches – and from Massachusetts Maritime Academy (who did a lot of the hottest work inside the truck), Bourne High School (the girl’s volleyball team was there in force), volunteers from the Bourne Food Pantry, and many others – about 100 volunteers in all – making the work go quickly and more enjoyably. One person I was passing pumpkins to said, “I’ve never seen a church do something like this before!” The enthusiasm was contagious. Thanks to all of you who planned all this long in advance, set up pallets, recruited volunteers… And many thanks to all now helping with the selling of pumpkins. All profits this year will again go to the Bourne Food Pantry.

We’re spending time in October on Stewardship themes, with members speaking each week on the joys that come with generous giving. Stewardship is about consciously trying to make right use of all we’re given in trust by God – giving back to God of our ‘time, talents and treasure’ – giving to the church and to the poor and investing in our own spiritual formation. When we do all this together joy happens.

Our Parish Thrift Shop is a hands-on-stewardship-ministry that brings in nearly $25,000 per year in recent years to the Bourne church, and well over $3000 annually to the Cataumet church. (Mondays are staffed by Cataumet UMC volunteers; Wednesdays through Saturdays are staffed by Bourne UMC volunteers.) Why not pay a visit and check out the array of fine offerings. Let’s remember to thank our volunteers, who put in many hours of service. Volunteers are always needed… It’s a great and lively group to be part of. Contributions of our gently used items in good condition are also always appreciated.

Bourne UMC’s Rally Day at Midway Park was a joy, with beautiful weather and the sounds of worship blending with the smells of burnt offerings – burgers and hotdogs, with heaping helpings of potluck offerings. Many thanks to all who helped…

Thanks to the United Methodist Women we heard from Dr. Brian Lisse who volunteers every year in Malawi working to eradicate malaria. Dr. Lisse spoke to us about the Methodist campaign Imagine No Malaria, which has helped reduce the incidence of malaria by 50% already. We will periodically receive special offerings for Imagine No Malaria this year.

Sunday School is up and going again. It’s a great joy to see the children and our adult Sunday School team together every week. We thank God for all of you!

I thank God often for all who visit and check in by phone with our sick and our shut-ins. Jesus says when we do this we visit him.

Joy comes often in unexpected moments…in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of the day… And in time spent in prayer and listening for God. Mornings on the porch or at the kitchen table, with bible, pen and notepad for journaling at hand… Listening for God, recalling all God has done in our lives… And all we see God doing among us here and now…

Know that you are always in our prayers – and all your prayers for my family, me, and all our church are greatly appreciated. Grace, peace, and joy from Jesus Christ be with you always,

Pastor Tim