July 17, 2017 - Sunday was the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, in the midst of Ordinary Time on the Christian calendar. This is the year of Matthew, and starting in Chapter 13 we have a series of Kingdom parables. Parables are more poetry than prose—more of a comfortable stroll along a stream than a strenuous walk. Many parables are the parts of the New Testament that people can recall from their early days in Sunday school. These parables are not about regulations and rules but about dreams and poetry and images of living in God’s Kingdom in the right now.
Sunday’s Gospel Lesson is about the farmer planting seeds. Matthew 13:1-8 is about the sower who wildly spreads seeds on rocky soil, poor soil, in the weeds, and on good soil. In Matthew 13:18-23 Jesus continues with the theme of the farmer planting. He is teaching his favorite pupils—his disciples—and he gives more information on the Kingdom of God, calling it as close as the coming rain storm.
Our Old Testament Sunday school lesson moved to Jeremiah and his reluctance to answer God’s call to be a prophet. I don’t think Jeremiah was being obstinate like Jonah but just felt he was too young and unqualified to be God’s spokesman. God assured Jeremiah that he would be with him as he proclaimed God’s desires. We Methodist pastors are taught that one of our roles is that of prophet. A prophet is not someone who predicts the future but someone who proclaims God’s desires and commands. This is not a favorite role for any preacher because if we take this role seriously, we may run into resistance from the very people we care most about. I am a chicken at heart, and the older I get the less I like confrontation. Ms. Fannie always leads us into a good discussion, showing that even though the stories are thousands of years old there is wisdom for us to find.
We were in double digits for worship this morning—always an exciting thing at little ole Paxton. Gene and Joy’s niece Debbie, up from Texas City, is such a fun person to be around. She has been visiting at the Hutto farm, where Gene and Joy put her to work picking peas and doing other gardening chores. Debbie’s week was reminiscent of times in her childhood visiting her grandparents’ farm and seeing friends in Shelby County.
It’s so nice seeing Mrs. Hilda back on the piano bench and knowing that she’s feeling better. Tuesday we head to Holiday Nursing Center for our ministry there. Our program will begin at 2:00, and everyone is welcome. On Thursday, July 27th we go to Lakeside Village. In July our church is collecting cans of spaghetti and ravioli for Community Christian Services.
“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. Godspeed