A message from our Pastor – October 2022

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

A Message from Pastor Dianne

To the People of God at Harwich,

The fall is upon us and October will call us to don sweaters and contemplate evening fireside chats.  The earlier nightfall will encourage most of us to put on our slippers and give up forays abroad in the dark.  It is hard to imagine what life was like for Jesus in a world without electricity and running water.  A light in the darkness was truly appreciated and the proximity to a fire was a blessing.

As we contemplate the last days of the church calendar and the approach of Thanksgiving we are reminded to count our blessings and often encouraged to consider our response to God’s mission by designating our support of God’s work through the church for the upcoming year.

Here are the four types of giving according to the Bible:

1. Tithes
Tithes often get confused with offerings.  According to the Bible, tithes are 10% of your income (Leviticus 27:30), and it can’t count as an offering. Anything you give more than the required tithe is what counts as an offering.

Remember that the land and all its fruits were given by God. Thus we recognize Him as the provider of all things.  In our money based economy we convert our handiwork into exchange value as money.

The New Testament tells us that we should not neglect the weightier issues. Yes, it’s good to offer a portion of our income to God but we should not forget to offer justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23).  We can’t practice one while neglecting the other.

2. The Seed or Offerings

Offerings, after tithes, are more of a free will gift. It’s up to you how much seed you want to give.  The more you give, the more you will receive (Luke 6:38). Think of it as the more seeds you sow, the more plants you can harvest.

3. The First Fruits

The first fruits are usually done once a year or for every new blessing that you receive (Deuteronomy 14:22).  Any new blessings that you receive count as a first fruit, so all these should be offered to God (Proverbs 3:9).  Giving your first fruits once a year will show how grateful you are for the blessings that you received from Him.  First Fruits come from the harvest.

4. Alms-giving

Unlike those three types of giving above which you should give to God, alms are for humankind. Your compassion and sympathy will lead you to help the less fortunate and the needy.  Although most people do alms-giving, the Bible, says that you should give alms in secret so you can protect the dignity of those who are in crisis.

So, I pray you might contemplate in the warmth of your home, the weightier things of this Year of Our Lord 2022…. The refugees, the homeless, the people impacted by hurricanes and other natural disasters, and thank God that you have triumphed over your challenges of the past and have hope that God still has things for you to do with the dawn of each new day.

In the Love of Christ,
Pastor Dianne

 

 

Worship Time

9:30 AM

Harwich UMC

1 Church Street East Harwich, MA 02645 Tel: 508-432-3734

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Hot-wired for Faith

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

2 Timothy 1:1-14
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,  1:2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.  1:3 I am grateful to God–whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did–when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  1:4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.  1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

1:6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 1:7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.  1:8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God,  1:9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 1:10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

1:11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 1:12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

1:13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  1:14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
FENCING IS A GAME OF LIVING CHESS

The word “fencing” comes from the verb “brandish” and this comes from the German verb” which means to repair or protect. 

Fencing, organized sport involving the use of a sword, foil, or sabre for attack and defense according to set movements and rules.

Although the use of swords dates to prehistoric times and swordplay to ancient civilizations, the organized sport of fencing began only at the end of the 19th century. It’s often called “physical chess” because of the similarity that each game affords only a few moves, especially few opening moves, but the first few moves can be arranged in a mind-boggling number of different combinations. Also, a good attack plan in either sport will be backed up by a second plan, in case the defender counters the first one, even a third or fourth. People who are good chess players, if physically fit, tend to make good fencers.

There are three different blades in fencing

Epee– target area is full body and no priority; a double hit gives points to both fencers or teams. Points are scored by hitting the opponent with the point of the blade.

Foil– target area is chest only and there is priority*. Points are scored by hitting the opponent with the point of the blade while having priority.

Sabre– target area is upper body and there is priority. Points are scored by hitting opponent with blade while having priority.

Lamentations 1:1-6 New International Version

[a]How deserted lies the city,     once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,     who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces     has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,     tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers    there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;     they have become her enemies.

After affliction and harsh labor,     Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;     she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn, for no one, comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her young women grieve,     and she is in bitter anguish.

Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,  captive before the foe.

All the splendor has departed   from Daughter Zion.
Her princes are like deer  that find no pasture;
in weakness, they have fled before the pursuer.

Luke 17:5-10
17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

17:6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  17:7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 17:8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 17:9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?

17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'”

Hot-wired for Faith
2 October 2022
The Rev Dr. Dianne ES Carpenter

 

Fencing Coaches Choices

I once asked a great coach how he decided which weapon a student should fence. He replied, “On the first day, I tell him ‘keep me from hitting you with my straight arm’ and I extend my arm at them.” He then explained what the three types of students do. The first takes a step back out of range of the coach’s hand, he shall be a sabreur. The second slaps the coach’s hand out of the way before the coach can hit him, he shall be an epee fencer. The third lets the coach hit him and immediately turns to any bystanders and insists that the coach’s arm was bent. He shall be a foilist.

The Foil was used for resolving matters of honor.

The Sabre was used by the military.

The Epee was used for dueling – the fight to first blood.

You wake up in the morning feeling lousy.  You check your temperature.  That’s about all you can do at home.  To explore your medical condition further, you head to the doctor’s office.  And wait.

Not anymore.  Healthy or sick, using wearable technology, now you can always know how your vital signs are doing.  Fitness experts are working on more practical applications of wearable technology. A medical “fanny pack” was tested in 1997 when a runner in the Boston Marathon raced from Hopkinton to the Prudential Building wearing a one-pound belt, loaded with an array of bundled health sensors. Researchers documented the heart rate, footsteps, GPS position, and body temperature of the athlete every second of the marathon, transmitting results to the internet for the whole world to read.

The whole concept of smart clothes may be traceable to the ancient art of fencing.  No fencer assumes the “en garde” position without wearing a lame [la-may] – the protective metallic vest used to detect valid touches in a fencing contest.  Since competitive fencers move too quickly for judges to catch every move, electronic scoring systems have long analyzed the moves for them.

It’s a point system now in case you are wondering whether  fencing is for you it’s also been suggested that fencing is a game of living chess so if you’re a chess player you probably would make a good fencer and you can start participating in this wonderful game fencing is an organized sport involving the sword and a set of movements and rules like chess how you choose your movements and how you obey the rules is also very important in how you play the game

It makes sense to guard one’s physical health. But what about our spiritual health?  Paul reminds us to “guard” our faith, but no wearable sensors have yet been created to monitor “how we are doing” spiritually.  No one is studying the technological means of measuring our rate of heartwarming actions, our footsteps along the right path, our positioning in God’s world, and the temperature of our passion for Christ.  Our spiritual vital signs cannot be easily Analyzed.

Yet contemporary scientists are trying, and the results make headlines.  Humans are hard-wired for God.  The field of neuro-theology promises to yield fascinating discoveries about connections between mystical experience and the human brain.

But Paul assumes the neuro-theological condition.  He argues that certain steps can be taken to move from a lame faith to a faith hard-wired for God [like the lame].  God has not given “us a spirit of cowardice [that’s lame], but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline [that’s lame’ vests of the digital age].

Power is a measure of an entity’s ability to control the environment around itself, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings.

Love is the emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In a philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. In a religious context, love is not just a virtue, but the basis for all beings (“God is love”[2]), and the foundation for all divine law

Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives one’s self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even though one would really rather be doing something else. For example, denying oneself of an extravagant pleasure in order to accomplish a more demanding charitable deed. Thus, self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be a synonym of ‘self control‘.

Nothing high-tech about the benefits of grace.  While we ooh and aah over the latest achievements of technology, first-century believers preferred the ancient over the novel.  In deference to the Romans who looked warily upon new and improved cults, Paul refers to the age-old faith of his ancestors and calls the grace of Jesus Christ a gift given “before the ages began.”

So if God remains unchanging and gracious, how do we check our notoriously human tendencies to wander and be less than gracious ourselves?  How do we guard the faith that our mothers and grandmothers taught us?  How do we detect glitches in our spiritual health?  Our tendency to carry bad spiritual habits and ignore vital signs of the soul remains as ancient as God’s grace.  What’s a neo-modern, technologically sophisticated Christian to do?

Paul offers a few suggestions.  The “gift of God” must be “rekindled” and Paul – ever helpful – declares himself to be just the right one to help.  In the laying on of his own hands, Paul offers support and encouragement to believers needing a sacred nudge.  Paul offers his services as a personal trainer, of sorts, throughout his letters.  The church at its best serves in this capacity too.  We offer personal training in the field of spiritual nurture.  We’ll coach you.  We’ll encourage you.  We’ll suggest a healthy diet of bread and wine, study and prayer.  We’ll teach you up to a point, but then you must be self-disciplined in your own personal training too.  We cannot run your spiritual life for you.

Sensors will not measure your pace, nor will microchip accelerometers analyze your performance.  We must depend upon more visceral signs to detect lame faith.  The 2 Paul mentions most prominently are “cowardice” and embarrassment.

Cowardice:  We’re not talking phobias.  The apostle could’ve used the Greek word phobos here, but he didn’t.  He is not making a comment on the claustrophobic, agoraphobic, or photophobic Christian. The word he does use [deilia] is never used in a positive sense.  It’s sheer fear and timidity.  No Christian possessed of this spirit will assume an en garde position to parry and thrust in the culture wars, the moral battles, and the spiritual struggles that one faces every day.

Embarrassment:  Cowardice is no doubt the product of embarrassment, mentioned twice in Paul’s words here.   Lame faith is a faith unwilling to suffer, unwilling to endure giggles, stares, rejection, ridicule or the like.  A lame’ faith [hard-wired to God] is powerful, loving & disciplined.  A lame faith is cowardly and red-faced.

It’s curious that while intellectuals will quite outspokenly reference pyramid power, or their chandlers or crystals, Christians often struggle to mumble that they believe Jesus is the Christ, the risen Son of the living God.  So what gives?  Are you more – or less- embarrassed to admit that your bodily functions are being monitored on an hourly basis by microsensors in your shorts, or that you’ve put your trust in God?  Lame or lame’?

Paul suggests that we “guard the good treasure” entrusted to us – not with fanny packs filled with radio transmitters – but with the hardwired, neuro-spiritual apparatus Paul calls the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.  He thinks it’s enough to get us through the day.

He’s right.  En Garde.

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

 

A Dollar Short and a Day Late

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

Luke 16:19-31

19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

1 Timothy 6:6-19

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for  our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

An engineer dies and goes to hell. After a while, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in there and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, hell has air conditioning, flushing toilets, water fountains and escalators – making the engineer a pretty popular guy.

One day God phones Satan up and asks with a sneer: “Hey buddy, how’s it goin down there in hell?”

Satan snickered back, “Things are going great actually. We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets, escalators and the works. Hell (no pun intended), there’s no telling what this engineer guy is gonna come up with next.”

God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake – he should never have gotten down there; send him back up.”

To which Satan replied, “No way dude. I like having an engineer on staff, I’m keepin him.”

God retorted, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs loudly and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you gonna find a lawyer?”

 

A Dollar Short and a Day Late
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man with Abraham
Luke 16:19ff
September 25, 2022
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter

How many people are familiar with the saying… It means that one is ill prepared for the task at hand. And we cannot afford to be ill prepared. The teacher expects we will come to class ready to learn… and God expects that we will come to the Kingdom well prepared as well.  The beginning of preparation is listening to Jesus’ teachings…

In the parable of the day…. Lazarus experiences a lifetime of being “a dollar short” . He never experiences the bounty that the rich man experiences… His clothes are rags and his health is poor- he’s covered with sores- and he generally needs all his energy to survive… even if that means begging on a good day because he probably was too weak to beg.

The rich man on the other hand has plenty … he is never a dollar short…but I would like to suggest that he is one fateful “day late“… Like another rich man who was unaware that his soul would be required on the day that he was contemplating building larger storehouses for his overflowing grain… the rich man finds himself on the other side of life… having died before he could have an attitude adjustment toward God’s most needy.  Actually, a good pair of glasses would have been an excellent investment for the rich man… As I read this passage… the poor man is not particularly religious and the rich man doesn’t even see the poor man. Neither are criminals – neither are angels…

The world is full of Lazarus people – they may not be covered with sores but they are definitely experiencing depression and despair as they face the daily needs.

this morning’s bulletin has Jesus in a breadline as the picture
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but before that particular picture was chosen [and I very much liked it] Cindy
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had found another picture….. a picture of a man kneeling down by
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another man who was prone on the ground…. now we rejected that picture
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because it’s hard to figure out who the characters were
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the man on the ground was so debilitated
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and we couldn’t tell whether it was a lovely large Labrador Retriever or a
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human being….. and I say that with a great sense of apprehension
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I just thought that we needed something a little bit clearer
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and easy to understand.
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when you can’t distinguish a human being from an animal
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they have come to the lowest possible human existence
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and unfortunately a picture was available in the public sphere
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and I wonder what people think when they see people so
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neglected that they had no hope at all….

Food is more expensive and again we are hearing that people are making choices between medicine and food.  The need for basic food in the USA cities and right here in Massachusetts exceeds the resources every day. Lazarus may be the elderly who can’t afford their medicine AND food,.  Sometimes they are found having passed in their apartments because no one is concerned for their welfare.

Lazarus is just “a dollar short “ and the rich man “a day late”! God fixes the poor man’s eternal experience since there was no joy in the man’s earth bound life… But Abraham says that no one can help the blindness or the meanness of those who refuse to engage the world with compassion if they refuse to see what is happening around them. “No one is so blind as those who will not see.” is another truism.

Even if someone came back from the dead! There is no hurrying some people toward a relationship with their maker and their fellow and sister humanity! Says Abraham. They will always be ill prepared for the day of reckoning, which is surely coming!

Of course, this is a reference by Jesus to His own crucifixion and resurrection… He imagines that many will be unmoved – in spite of the incarnation of God!

There is no excuse for the way we ignore and mistreat one another, says this parable. Prophets and wise people have been encouraging people to care about the less fortunate among us for ages… but being self-centered is so much more natural…

Our two thoughts for the week come from a book that points out that Rich and Poor parents- fathers in particular- model extremely different attitudes in the economic sphere and therefore predispose their children to very different existences in this life…

I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to look at them the primary difference between a rich person and a poor person
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is …”how they manage fear”   is the first one
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when you are afraid do you hoard your possessions
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and  when you’re afraid do you somehow mobilize
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a reason to get up in the morning and the 2nd philosophy of the man of the
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rich and the poor is this:  “ the rich invest their money and spend what is left
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and the poor spend their money and invest what is left”
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but the difference between having anything left
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is what it means to be poor
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we spend it all on the necessities
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and because of the disparity in what we teach our children
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from the economic advantages that we have or disadvantage that we have
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that’s how they will face the future

And Jesus clearly highlights that The great chasm was already there while the two men were alive. 

Jesus paints the contrast in painfully clear images as the parable begins…

…a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen

…a poor man covered–not with fine linen–but with sores

…a rich man who feasted sumptuously

…a poor man who longed for crumbs from the rich man’s table

Why? Why was there such a great chasm between the rich man and Lazarus while they were alive? We could quickly answer that the rich man was hard-hearted and selfish. He was mean. Yet, Jesus paints him as a man with great compassion for his family. He pleads with Abraham on behalf of his five brothers–don’t let them come into this place of torment! But Abraham replies, “They have Moses and the prophets, they should listen to them.” 

the bishop last year suggested we read a book about racism
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which clearly showed that we have a caste system
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in our country…. it is almost as profound as the one in India,
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where I’m sure you’re used to  identifying the word caste but what was more startling was that
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during the years of the ascendancy of the Nazi philosophy
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they looked to America’s class differentiations
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to understand how you keep people in the caste where they’re supposed to stay
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according to your philosophy and what had happened in terms of how we
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had established a place for black people… poor people….
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middle class people and rich people was
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worth studying for them to deal with the Jewish question
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and these classification of society are frightening.   What we do,
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what we understand as community in the church is not a given, it’s something
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that is created by God’s command
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that you share what you have that you have concern for one another.  A more primitive understanding of The Human
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Condition is that we’re all trying to protect our own little peice
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and these philosophies have been around for a long time.  Which one are you going to ascribe to?
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the distance between ourselves and others is immense and when we have social paths that separates us the chasm
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becomes wider and deeper.   It takes being prepared and intentional to communicate
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with one another all I need to do is listen to what people say after a sermon
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I we don’t do it since covet and it’s not as much of an impact in a
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more intimate group like this but when people leave a large group that has been
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at a church service and they share with you what profound thing you said during the sermon you sometimes wonder when you
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said that at all because we all hear selectively.
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Communication is work.
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And the ability to share concern for one another is definitely a
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Choice.  being a good communicator is rare our peers are people who act as we do and
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think as we do and share our common history and in this day and age it is common knowledge that we are not
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necessarily in tune with our neighbor but we are challenged to imitate Jesus
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and narrow the gaps in this Earthly community so that there will not be a Chasm separating us for eternity
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bridges of communication and sharing will change the gap between those who are prepared to be responsible Trustees
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of the world and in its population the end of a dollar short and a day late
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is Salvation through wholeness instead of Separation through fractures
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The distance between ourselves and others is immense and when we have social castes that separate us the chasm becomes wider and deeper. It takes being prepared and intentional to communicate with one another – all I need to do is listen to what people “say I said during the sermon“ to realize that crossing the gap that separates us is very difficult. Being a good communicator is rare. Our peers are people who act as we do, think as we do and share our common history and in this day and age it is common knowledge that we are not necessarily “in tune“ with our neighbor. But we are challenged to imitate Jesus and narrow the gaps in this earthly community so that there will not be a chasm separating us for eternity.

Bridges of communication and sharing will change the gap between those who are prepared to be responsible trustees of the world and its population. The end of a dollar short and a day late is salvation through wholeness instead of separation thru fractures.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”  ― John Wesley

Finally, I find the structure of this parable significant. Lazarus goes to the bosom of Abraham- no St Peter at the pearly gates – no devil in the burning hell – in fact this is one of the few references to “hell” in the Bible!  he rests with the “father of the people of God.”  Because we have Jesus we do not look to Abraham but I assure you that Abraham was the most important figure before Moses and the 2 of them until Jesus.

We can do better as a country. I can do more as an individual. If we listen to Jesus, we have no choice–we’re called to feed Lazarus, even if we don’t see him at our gate. The actions of ordinary people have brought miraculous changes in the past twenty-five years: the number of children dying before their fifth birthday has been cut almost in half throughout the world. That’s five million children every year saved from starvation. How did this happen? Largely because thousands of people like you and me sent letters to Congress urging our country to do more as part of the global community. Lazarus is longing for more than crumbs that fall from our communion tables. We can sit down today and write a letter urging our leaders to keep our commitments to the people below the poverty line. perhaps be involved in some crying need in our own country through our political voice I don’t know if you received it in the

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mail but this week I received my opportunity to vote by mail
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and I looked at it and I talked to my daughter and I said I’m going to be
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coming back from vacation on November 8th which is voting day
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and we discussed for a while whether we should early vote or run down to the polls on that day
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or get the mail in vote… the power we have to change only goes so
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far as we take hold of it and participate
38:05
at the most political level
You and I can join Bread for the World, a citizens’ organization that has already changed the politics of hunger in this country. Jesus knew long ago what economists and hunger advocates are telling us now: we have everything we need to end world hunger, it is a matter of distribution.

There is many a Lazarus who is hungry, unemployed, sick and homeless in our wealthy land. How do we treat Lazarus in our midst?

As we learn from the parable, there are eternal consequences for how we manage or mismanage our wealth.  Consequences for each of us personally and for the kind of world we give to our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.   I know it is not popular to say this, yet the parable itself does: there is a possibility of suffering terrible eternal consequences if we fail to care for the poor neighbours in our midst. The thought of this is disturbing—hopefully disturbing enough to motivate us into loving action by serving the poor.

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

 

Schizophrenia

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 New Revised Standard Version

The Prophet Mourns for the People

18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick.
19 Listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?  Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?”)
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
21 For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken,
I mourn, and horror has seized me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

[a]O that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

1 Timothy 2:1-7 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Instructions concerning Prayer
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and dignity. This is right and acceptable before God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,   who gave himself a ransom for all -this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth;[a] I am not lying), a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1-13 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16 Then Jesus[a] said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the children of this age are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth[b] so that when it is gone they may welcome you into the eternal homes.[c]

10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much, and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If, then, you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,[d] who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”[e]

18 September 2022
https://youtu.be/JJiU2-iFJN0
Schizophrenia
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter
Luke 16:1-13

Pope’s managerial humerous story….

the origin of the term Schizophrenia from the Greek roots skhizein [two split] and phren- [mind] to have a split mind….

Paul Eugene Bleuler and the origin of the term schizophrenia and 1908:

Bleuler worked as a psychiatrist caring for patients with psychiatric disorders at a variety of facilities in Europe. In 1908, Bleuler coined the term schizophrenia to describe a group of diseases that cause changes in thought processes and behavior in humans as well as difficulties relating to the world. Apr 6, 2017

I am not in any way discussing the medical use of the term schizophrenia….  Rather I am working from the gospel for today to affirm that human beings are often afflicted by an attempt to live simultaneously in two competing worlds and inevitably fail.

We find ourselves trying to do what everyone wants and find that we are caught in the situation of pleasing no one.  We struggle with trying to discern what we ought to do, when we can see only what we want to do.

Jesus holds up the shrewd manager in this parable as the example of the necessity to be of one mind rather than afflicted with a “split mind” as we face the dilemmas of life.

The shrewd manager was always out for his own welfare.  Dishonest in his duties, he remains true to his agenda about putting himself first when he is about to be dismissed from his position he sets about with a plan.   He is a survivor!

The shrewd manager has no agonizing moments of indecision about the problem at hand.

Jesus knows that we often struggle with the desires we have to enjoy as much of the wealth of our society as we can as represented in our possessions, even though we want to have a relationship with the divine source of our existence who asks us to share what we have with those were less fortunate as a way of worshiping God.

One human reaction is to “compartmentalize”.  I will be a good spouse at home and a good worker at work.  And then work asks you to work overtime and the family schedule is in conflict with the expectations of work…  So we struggle to have meaningful relationships within the constraints of time.

And so we are of a divided mind in many ways and fail to achieve either what we want or what we ought to want in the limited time we enjoy on this earth.  Dissatisfaction is often the experience we have in significant expectations we carry with us because we are not clear about what we will serve or whether we’re servants at all [which, not being God] we most certainly are srvants of our circumstances and limitations!

Or we worship on Sunday and attempt to focus on the agenda of society the rest of the days and we are faced with the decision to set aside those expectations when we do not conform to social custom.  [1] How many are saying Grace at restaurants…  Is religion private…  [2] Willingness to see our work as vocation-God’s work.  We spend more hours at work than at anything else but perhaps sleep…

We understand national loyalty instead of making our national decisions conform to our allegiance to God’s social expectations in relationship to the homeless, the infirm and the imprisoned.  [immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard – a plan… People stepped forward on the island to feed and shelter their brothers and sisters… may not be Christians] Why are we so divided as a nation that we have impromptu events that leave victims more victimized …. Compartmentalizing religion from politics.

Jesus’ answer to the dilemma of the schizophrenia of the world in which we live is to cultivate a wholeness of mind that is as natural as the single mindedness of the shrewd manager!  His life was very different… No mass communication or swift transportation.  People were limited in their ability to move quickly by the use a walking, perhaps a four legged creature or a cart…  He found people’s lives were fractured… they had a public persona and a private persona… and he says chose God’s way because you must choose between serving the economic hierarchy and social demands or God’s Kingdom agenda.  God brings peace and justice.

Amazing grace is able to set us free from the chains of our schizophrenic existence.

OK, so you feel pretty good about a relationship to God being a priority in your life.  When faced with choices you feel you have oneness of mind with God…  Great, please help the church find unity in our division!  Are you willing to support the ecumenical movements that help us work for the unity of the schizophrenic church of the 21st century?  We are more united in mission than in theology, so perhaps our mission-our service to the world is to be our theology!

What is the greatest commandment?  Jesus keeps it simple…

Love the Lord Your God with all your hearts and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.

Beyond the ecumenical divisions, we ae experiencing division within our own denomination…. We need to continue to bring a united gospel of liberation and love to a struggling world.  In a few weeks we will have World Wide Communion Sunday.  We celebrate a unity of priorities rather than division and name calling within the ranks ….  Perhaps as a church and a nation we need to focus on the simple message.

Jesus was completely human and completely divine… We strive to be more divine because we are completely human…. We are striving for wholeness in a broken schizophrenic world- the world that is not of one mind with God as Jesus was!

During a papal audience, a businessman approach the pope and made this offer: “If he would the change the last line of the lord’s prayer from give us this day our daily bread to give us this day our daily chicken then KFC would donate $10,000,000 to Catholic charities.  The pope declined.  Two weeks later the man approach the pope again, this time with a $50,000,000 offer.  Again the pope declined.  A month later the man offered $100,000,000.  This time the pope accepted.  At a meeting of the cardinals, the pope announced his decision in the good news bad news format: The good news is that we have $100,000,000.  The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

 

A message from our Pastor – September 2022

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

A Message from Pastor Dianne

To the People of God at Harwich,

According to Google, searches for prayer were at an all-time high during the height of the pandemic. Six out of ten people in the US and around the world prayed for an end to the pandemic. People were desperate for a solution. But now that COVID is receding, churches have reopened, and we are resuming familiar ways, prayer searches are back to normal. Yet the need for a deep connection with God remains. [from an online Ministry Matters article]

While worship may never be conducted exactly the way it was prior to the pandemic shutdown, some practices are representative of our theology and are worth re-establishing while new practices become part of our “new normal.” 

On Sunday morning we had a “retiring offering” where the plate was not passed but left near the entrance to the sanctuary. Since we have learned that passing the plate does not pass COVID, we are once again collecting the offering during the service.

More challenging was the practice of communion.  Who should touch the elements and how ought they be distributed?  How can we best control social distancing?  In preparation for the communion, there is still kitchen protocol.  In the sanctuary, we have been receiving communion in both kinds [bread and grape juice] in the pews- like our congregational and Baptist brothers and sisters who emphasize the fellowship aspect of Jesus’ admonition: “do this in remembrance of me.” 

However, it has been our Methodist tradition, to come forward to receive communion at the altar railing thereby emphasizing the hearts yearning to encounter the sacred by leaving our pews to approach God.  Sometimes this involved kneeling [unless that posture was replaced by standing due to physical challenges] and of course, God’s holy presence was always brought to anyone who could not safely navigate the aisle to the railing. Coming forward has been accomplished in a procession or in groups of persons similar to seatings at a table.  This September 4th let’s try approaching the communion table at which Jesus presides.  Think about it…..

After church, we fellowship around tables in the Fellowship Hall….

In the Love of Christ,
Pastor Dianne

 

 

Worship Time

9:30 AM

Harwich UMC

1 Church Street East Harwich, MA 02645 Tel: 508-432-3734

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