Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone:
An "Open & Affirming" Church
(781) 334-3050;Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
The Rev. Dr. Dennis
C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
March 7, 2007
Humility for A Greater Purpose
Last week I talked about humility. It is a challenging topic. It is an even more challenging part of our spiritual life. There is The Rule of St. Benedict in which his twelve steps to humility are based, in part on the words of Jesus, "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
Benedict writes that "all self-exaltation is a form of pride, against which, the prophet tells us, he guarded: 'Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lifted up; neither have I walked in great things nor in wonders above myself. But to what purpose if I did not think humbly but exalted my soul? As a child weaned from his mother, so will you reward my soul'"(Psalm 131:1-2).
St. Benedict sets out writing his longest chapter on the twelve steps toward humility, based on the metaphor of a ladder. He uses the ladder from Jacob's dream from Genesis. Each step ascends to greater humility.
It would, no doubt, be a helpful spiritual exercise to use scriptural texts on humility and resources like those of St. Benedict, to help us reflect on humility in our own lives.
Caution must also be exercised in realizing what humility is not. It is not self-loathing, known in the extreme form as self-hatred, including a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness.
Jesus wants us to realize and recognize ourselves as God's creation! One form of humility is to realize that we are God's children, first. God wants us to realize the specialness that has been given to each of us. We are not better than other people, yes, but, we are also no less than anyone else. Putting ourselves down, depreciating ourselves, or letting others put us down is not a form of God's humility.
Another form of humility is recognizing that God is in this place. Jacob cried out (while reflecting upon seeing the vision of the ladder), "Surely, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!" (Genesis 28:16).
The Lord is in this place, is reflected by me, every time we gather for worship and prayer, when it's one person praying and/or reflecting upon God's direction in our lives, when it's two or more people, no matter the place or occasion.
This past Sunday evening I went with Centre Church's youth to see the movie, "Amazing Grace," the story about William Wilberforce of Great Britain. He led the effort to bring an end to England's slave trade during the 19th century. He was a politician, philanthropist, and abolitionist. I was struck how he would go out into his backyard, roll in the grass, on the ground, and look at the spider webs, where he waited upon the Lord for direction. I was struck how he went to seek wisdom from his old preacher, John Newton (yes, the author of the hymn, Amazing Grace). I was struck how he listened to the voices and hearts of close friends, even when they made different choices. I was struck how he listened to other people of spiritual and political influence. I was struck by his giving of himself in marriage to his wife, Barbara Ann Spooner, and accepted her love as she accepted his. I was struck how the movie made me feel "the Lord is in this place" when William listened to friends and when he spoke in the House of Commons. It would seem that William could speak very eloquently. Yet, the Lord calls us to speak out even if we can't speak eloquently, trusting the Lord to use our words and intentions to serve a greater purpose.
I was struck by William Wilberforce's humility, allowing his Lord, Jesus, to guide and bless him to serve a greater purpose through his position of privilege, and through his unique passion for the lives of others from different cultures, places, and beliefs.
William Wilberforce recognized himself as no greater or less than any other human being. All men are created equal. To this end he committed his life and service, even against overwhelming odds. Humility is to serve the Lord, even when the days and nights were dark, discouraging, seemingly hopeless.
No matter who you are or where you are from, you can be blessed by the spiritual gift of humility. Welcome it.
"The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor" (Proverbs 15:33).
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
March 11, 2007 - Third Sunday in Lent
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev.
Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
"Unsettled: Pilate and Jesus"
"Rebellion Against the Stomach"
Children may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or 28 (Verizon) at 7 p.m. on Thursday or Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 8 am on Sunday.
Set Clocks Ahead
One Hour on Saturday, March 10
Our Craft Group is getting busy with items for the Lynnfield Geranium Fest in May. We will continue to paint tulips this week as well as work on other projects. A special thank you to Harvey Card for his help with cutting out our wood projects. He took a couple of things home during our meeting last week and was back before it ended with more to paint!! My husband remembers talking to someone at church who does wood turning. If you are out there and willing to help us, please let me know.
Please drop by to see what we are doing. We are downstairs in the kitchen every Wednesday from 10:00 12:00.
Thanks, Donna Marino 781-581-2022
Joani Geltman To Speak
Join us this Thursday, March 8 in Todd Hall from 7:00-9:00 p.m. as we learn and interact with Ms. Joani Geltman. She will be here to speak on the topic of teenage adolescence and comes with many years of experience in this field. This seminar is open to the community, so please bring a friend. You need not have teenagers to benefit from this seminar - you need only the desire to know more about teenagers today.
Muffins for Heifer
On Sunday, March 11, the PreK-1st Grade will be making muffins! All of these children should plan to meet in the kitchen promptly at 10:00. Please plan on sponsoring their efforts and raising money for Heifer International by buying some muffins after church.
We would like to thank you all for helping our 4th and 5th Grade Class to raise just over $100.00 for Heifer International.
Wine Tasting Event
This evening of fellowship, sponsored by the Membership Commission, is open to church members and their friends. A variety of wines supplied by Our Glass Wine Co. in Saugus will be provided, along with hors-doeuvres. Join us in the Fireside Room at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.
Missions is asking for your gifts to assist those in the South affected by the recent tornadoes in Florida and Enterprise, Alabama. Please write checks to Centre Congregational Church and put "Disaster Fund" in the memo. The money will go directly to the United Church of Christ Disaster Fund.
On March 4, members of the High School Youth Group handed out tubes of M & M Minis to the congregation. We would like you to enjoy the M & Ms and then refill the tube with quarters over the next few weeks. Return your filled tube to the church by April 1. All proceeds will go toward the April Mission Trip.
If you would like to order a plant to grace our sanctuary on Easter, please fill out the form available here.
Habitat for Humanity
Our date to volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity homes being built in Reading has been changed to Saturday, April 7 from 8:30-3:00 p.m.. This opportunity is open to all youth over 16 years old. We are also looking for 2 adults as well. Please call Barbara Langill at the church office if you would like to participate.
News from Boy Scout Troop #48
During the month of March, the Scouts will continue to work on Backpacking in preparation for their trip to Danvers. Michael Welter received his troop neckerchief, and Andrew Durkee his "black lobster" as a trained Den Chief. The Scouts will be selling carbon monoxide detectors again on March 17 in front of the stores in Lynnfield Centre.
Carrot Cake Bake- Off
The High School Youth Group will be sponsoring a Carrot Cake Bake-Off on Sunday, March 18 at 3pm. Rev. Dennis Bailey has been bragging that he bakes the best carrot cake ever. There are others in the congregation who feel they could challenge that statement. We would like everyone to help decide if Rev. Bailey's "God, Thats Good Carrot Cake!" is the supreme ruler of the carrot cake world or not. There will be a $5.00 admission charge which will include samples of all carrot cake entries, tea or coffee and a ticket to vote for the "Peoples Choice Award". Tickets to this event will be sold after church on Sunday, March 11 and 18. We will also have a panel of judges who will be judging each cake on its appearance, taste, and texture for the "Judges Choice Award." All funds raised will go towards the High School Mission Trip.
Do you have a Carrot Cake recipe you think is a winner? Submit your entry form by Thursday, March 15 and compete for bragging rights to the "Best Carrot Cake Ever". Not into baking? Do you like Carrot Cake so much that you feel you could be a judge? The charge for a coveted spot at the judges table is $20.00. This entitles you to a full slice of each of the cakes entered in the competition and the power to help decide the winner. Entry forms and rules will be available in the church office and after church on Sunday, March 11. Contact Barbara Langill if you have questions.
Please plan to join us for this fun and delicious event.
Bits n Pieces
A watch was found on Sunday, March 4. Please call the church office if you think its yours.
If you would like to donate Altar Flowers in memory of someone or in celebration of some special occasion, March 18 is open. Please call the church office.
Reminder: Cable coverage of our worship services is at 8 a.m. on Sunday in Peabody (Channel 10) and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Lynnfield (Channel 10/Comcast or Channel 28/Verizon.)
Nursery Room 14
Confirmation Class #9
Youth Choir Choir Room
Youth Groups Lower Level
Diaconate Pastors Office
Planned Giving Pastors Office
Knitting Group Fireside Room
|10:00 am||Craft Group Kitchen|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir Choir Room|
Study Pastors Office
Youth Groups to LaserQuest
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ed Vancor at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital; Gladys Davis, Haven Health Care, 20 Chester Road, Derry, NH 03038; Hal Holappa at the Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Rd., Bedford, 01730; Catherine Newman at Oostermans 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180 and Priscilla Kress recuperating at home.
We also remember Michael Blute in Iraq.
March 11, 2007
Head Usher: Karen Harrington.
Lay Reader: Seavey Bowdoin.
Providing Altar Flowers: Marcia Waugh & Barbara Horwood.
Coffee Hour: Linda Shove and Judie Potter.
Heifer Muffins: Pre-K 1st Grade.