The Easter season is upon us. We are people of the Cross, for sure, but in the UCC, we are more inclined to be people of the Resurrection. The people who believe in new life. The people of second chances. The people who believe that all the Boston sports teams will surely win the championship this year. We are the people of hope, in our town and for the world.
And our Gospel faces us forward into that hope. In the Easter season through Pentecost (May 15), we switch from seeing Jesus in Luke’s Gospel as the teacher and healer into the Gospel of John. It is the Gospel in which Jesus gives us a new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” In fact, in many churches and seminaries, the Gospel of John is called the Gospel of Love.
And with good reason. Each chapter of the Gospel of John frames Jesus in a new way for us to understand how God came to us and what we can learn for our lives and follow the Way to new life. Here are the themes for each week of Eastertide: Conqueror of Death through Resurrection Witness. Restorer of the Penitent and pointing the way forward. Jesus the Good Shepherd and life-giving acts. Jesus as servant to us, imagining how we can serve God and the world. Comforter of our souls in the wake of sorrow. Great intercessor to let us know that God is love, not a vengeful destroyer. And gatherer of the flock, helping us to build on God’s great grace and how to build our a better world right her, right now.
That’s a theme that you will hear from me during my ministry in Townsend. We have always been a community that comes together, that responds to needs, that recognizes that we may have differences but we are stronger when we confront common problems than when we abandon all hope and wait for another day. We have always believed that as we seek to support our Town and its people, so we also seek God’s purpose for our lives and become better ourselves. When we heal one another, we heal our own broken hearts and lives, and we find new purpose and energy to do great things.
Here are some of the great things going on. Townsend Congregational Church, we have some exciting things that need your help. Are you concerned about helping kids have better lives? Bring your kids and come play with us, or help us drive forward our partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Lowell coming to Townsend. Want to help organize some fun events? Join the Men’s Grill Team for some free summer barbeques throughout the summer, or come and support the Greg’s Run race committee for our annual Columbus Day event. Want to make a difference in peoples’ lives? Help folks get a path forward in their lives, becoming a trained listener for what we call our Stephen Ministry, where people connect one-to-one and realize that we’re not alone in our common struggles with loneliness and isolation.
Come experience the hope and joy of who we are and what we do. Membership is welcome, but not required. We are becoming a community church that truly welcomes all people, no matter where we are on our faith journey, to live more fulfilling lives through the study and pursuit of God’s purposes for us. What’s that purpose? It’s easy, and it’s hard. But it’s the hope we all have.
“Love one another, as I have loved You”. The Sox are building their championship team one player at a time. So are we at TCC. Come and see, and most of all, get in the game. We’ll find you a place on the roster as stewards of hope and the people of second chances. Grace and Peace to all,