Growing in Faith – Bible Study
Beginning this month, on April 30, the deacons will be hosting a monthly forum for those who would like to grow together in faith and engage scripture in a deeper manner than we are able to treat it during worship.
Please join us in the living room as we discuss “Jesus as healer and how Christians may tap into his healing balm today.” The forum will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The scriptures we will be discussing are Mark 1:21-28, Mark 4:31-37, Luke 4:40-41 and Acts 3.1-10.
May 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a Spiritual Retreat for anyone in the church looking to practice and deepen their faith in community. At the Walker Center in Auburndale, the guided spiritual retreat is sponsored by the Deacons.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC!
April is a busy month for music at Second Church
Sunday, April 2 during the Sunday morning service, you have the opportunity to enjoy Blue Grass / Gospel with Gail and Allen Wiegner along with friends they have invited to join in the service
On Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. Newton Baroque will perform very astonishingly beautiful works for strings and harpsichord by the largely forgotten Johann Christoph Petz, in a program entitled: Finding Lost Petz. Violinists will include Susanna Ogata and Jesse Irons along with Douglas Kelley on viola da gamba, Sarah Freiberg Ellison on violoncello, and Andrus Madsen on harpsichord.
On Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. we will have our Good Friday Tenebrae Service. This time the service will take us back to Good Friday in 1580s Munich with music by Orlando di Lasso
On Easter Sunday, April 16 you will have the opportunity to enjoy Easter Music from St. Mark’s in Venice in addition to the always beloved rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
On Saturday, May 20 Newton Baroque will offer up a program of 19th Century German Lieder with fortepiano featuring performances by Shiba Nemat-Nasser, Julia Steinbok, Pamela Delall, and Tom Oesterling
Chloe and Holden receive their Bibles. Amen!
Not to Be Ministered Unto but to Minister
100th Anniversary of the Second Church in Newton building @ 60 Highland Street
October 2, 2016, by Rev. Mark Seifried
There’s a story about a shopkeeper who had lived a life of hard knocks and more than a few disappointments. He didn’t want his son to live his life like that so he sent him to learn about the secrets of life from the wisest woman in the world. The boy wandered for more than a month, following the map that his father had given him. Finally he came upon a beautiful castle that was built high on top of a mountain. That was where the wise woman lived.
Well, rather than finding a discreet saint of a woman, when the boy entered the great hall of the castle, he saw a flurry of activity; workers were coming and going, people were talking in the corners of the room, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table that was covered with platters of the most delicious food from that part of the world. The wise woman was talking to everyone and carrying on, and the boy had to wait over an hour until he got the wise woman’s attention.
Once he did, the wise woman listened to the boy attentively as he explained why he had come. But as soon as he explained, the wise woman interrupted the boy and said that she didn’t have time just now to explain the secret of life. She suggested that the boy wander around the castle and return in two hours, saying, “Meanwhile, I want you to do something.” She handed the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil and said, “As you wander around, carry this spoon with you and don’t allow the oil to spill.”
The boy began going up and down the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours he returned to where the wise woman was.
The wise woman asked, “What did you think of the Persian tapestries hanging on my dining hall walls?” The boy admitted that he didn’t really see them. “Well then how did you like the gardens out by the terrace? It took the master gardener 10 years to create that garden terrace!” Again, the boy said that he didn’t really see them. “Well surely you noticed the beautiful parchments in my library, didn’t you?”
The boy was embarrassed and confessed that he didn’t see much of anything. His only concern was not to spill the oil that the wise woman entrusted to him.
Calmly, she said, “Then, please, go back and look at all the marvelous things here. You cannot trust a person if you don’t know her house.” Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and went back to exploring the palace. This time he looked closely at all the works of art on the ceilings and walls. He saw the gardens and was impressed at the good taste with which everything had been selected. He even marveled at the mountains all around the palace grounds and the beauty of the flowers. When he returned to the wise woman, the boy related in detail everything he had seen.
The wise woman looked down at the spoon in the boy’s hand and asked, “But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?” Looking down at the spoon, the boy saw that the oil was gone and shrugged with embarrassment.
“Well,” the wise woman said, “There’s really only one piece of advice I think necessary for me to give you. The secret of life is to experience as many marvels of the world as you are able, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”
I tell you this story, as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of this glorious church building, to prompt you to remember why we are here. This is a magnificent building with so many fine details and finishes that you can get lost in it. You might even be tempted to worship the architecture, the stone, and woodwork rather than the God who is to be glorified in those things. But here’s the thing: The Church of Jesus Christ was created not to build shrines and museums. No, the church of Jesus Christ was created as healing balm for a wounded world.
For a time such as this, the church was born All you have to do is switch on the TV News or open the newspaper to understand that we are living in a time when fear of or animus toward neighbor seems more common than love of neighbor, a time of great income inequality, a time of simmering racial tensions, a time when more institutions are failing in modern history, except for banks during the Great Depression, a time when more people are preparing to retire than there are young people to support them, a time when our children have never lived to know our country not to be at war. A time when hope seems in short supply. Yes, for a time such as this, the church was born. And for a time such as this, we need to be reminded of why we have this glorious sanctuary.
To quote the late great J. Edgar Park who was the minister here in 1916 when this church building was dedicated: since 1764, Second Church in Newton is a “Community of memory bound by an everlasting covenant.” That is written on the altar: “an everlasting covenant”: An everlasting covenant to faithfully live the gospel of Jesus Christ and thereby being a people who inject hope into the suffering around us.
Therefore it makes sense that, because we are a community who serves those in need, our windows reflect the story of God’s care for people. We are a people called to care for those whom Jesus called the least of these, but also people drawn together to reflect upon the word of God, and so there are infamous pastors carved into the wood on pulpit, pastors whose service to the Church go back to the Protestant Reformation to remind us that the long ways of the past have led us here and that our business of reformation is ongoing. There are musicians’ names in the music windows to remind us of the long line of musical witness to our ancient faith and the Word of God.
For the 50th anniversary of the church, Dr. Park spoke of advances in science and archaeological findings that were changing the way people thought and lived. He said, “We are on the verge of a new world, a world incredible to our fathers.” And then he challenged the church saying, “Our religion is not to be an unchanged element. You will be shocked, delighted and astonished in the new development in religion over the next 50 years.”
We are living into that reality now as the Church of Jesus Christ goes through the greatest upheaval in the last 500 years, a time when we are asking: “What is the relationship between history and Christianity? What do other religions have to teach us? How can Christianity become lived and admired again? How does the teaching of Jesus become more practical than experts in business, economics, science, technology?” How can we help create a faith-based social infrastructure to help support the needs of the community we serve?
We are in a new world in which brute force causes the maximum of terror. The message of Jesus, which is: integrity, love, compassion, redemption, and beauty can overwhelm the anti-terror tactics presently employed that are devastating the world just as surely as the terror tactics.
For a time such as this, the church was born, to double down on finding meaning in community – to address the hard issues of the day, to lament together,
When black men die at the hands of police. When mosques are vandalized. When shooters rampage gay clubs. When Native Americans brave dogs and bulldozers to defend their ancestors’ graves. When people of other faiths seek shelter on our shores because they are fleeing war and oppression. When the politics of fear come wrapped in stars and stripes and crosses.
For a time such as this the church was born to praise God together that we have weathered the storms of history and, with the help of God, will weather all the storms to come. And, as the minister counseled the gathered faithful in this space 100 years ago, for a time such as this we are here not to be ministered unto but to minister to the needs of the world.
Despite all the change of the present, the doors of this church must be open to visitors, to our worship, and to Jesus, who is our liberator, so that we can reveal Jesus’ vision from the pulpit and in lives of faithfulness from the people in the pews. Beloved, we are here today to praise God, but also to pray and join the prayers of the great line of eternal witnesses. Let us remember our covenant to live humbly with God, ministering to the needs of a broken world, on the path forged by Jesus, whose ministry of yesteryear we continue today and beyond.
COME TO CHOIR PRACTICE
All are always welcome at choir practice. The choir practices on Thursday nights at 7:30 pm in the Choir Room, and Sunday Mornings at 9:00 am.
PREPARING THE ALTAR
Each Sunday the Altar is lovingly prepared for worship by a small cadre of dedicated “Sacristans”. Would you like to help?
We welcome/encourage/need folks who would be willing to help with this task 4-5 Sundays throughout the year. The Sacristan’s job is to order the flowers and prepare the Altar for a given Sunday. This can be done in less than an hour and at your convenience. Following the service, the Sacristan is responsible for wrapping the flowers and clearing the Altar. We like to train new people. So – timing is flexible, you can work with a partner (or not), you can be creative, and we will help you to learn.
The Altar is a visual focal point for our worship service, and its preparation is a gift to our worshiping community. We truly do operate as a friendly team, and we would be very grateful for the gift of your time and talent. Please let us know if you’re interested
Donna Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kathy Lucey (email@example.com), Shirley Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On May 1, four Confirmands were received into membership of Second Church. They had written prayers that were offered during the service.
Litany for Prayers of the people on Confirmation Sunday
by Ben Archer, Lukas Hanenberger, Victoria Joseph, Caleb Levy, Tommy Walsworth.
We believe that God is everywhere. We believe that God is not necessarily a human figure, but more a presence that we interact with. We pray to God, we sing to God, and we share parts of our life that we may not share to others. We understand and experience God as a holy and spiritual figure. God is always with us. When we pray for God to guide us to make the right decisions, we are more apt to make good decisions.
Jesus is the Son of God and a role-model, a cool guy and radical teacher. Some of the things he does in the Bible stories are metaphors for the things we should do in our lives.
The Holy Spirit is a mystery, but comes as the light of God that is within us and the spiritual energy between is.
The Bible is a collection of stories that we should study and allow to guide us through our lives. The Bible is truer than true, but not necessarily all historical fact.
We believe that this church is part of our community and does many good things here in Newton and around the world. This church gives us a much stronger idea of the Christian we could be. We are a warm, helping, and comforting community; the people will help us with our problems just as we will help others with theirs.
Our faith is inspired by Christ’s example. Living our faith gives us opportunities to give back out of gratitude for all we have been given. Our faith is meant more to guide us than to be a hammer that strikes us when we do wrong. By practicing our faith we can fulfill our Christian call to love our family, friends and the wider world.
God bless the confirmation students. God bless our church. God bless the communities we serve. God bless all those in need of healing body, mind or spirit.
We thank you and we love you, Creator God, Redeeming Christ, and Comforting Spirit.