January 1, 2018 - Sunday was New Year’s Eve, a secular holiday, but with, certainly, spiritual overtones. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are still in the season of Christmastide. The coming of a New Year is a good time for a new beginning and a new, brighter attitude. The scripture for my sermon was Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. This is a very popular reading but on first or second or third reading, it can be disturbing. And yet the author says there is a season for everything under the sun. I read about a gentleman who went to a wishing well on New Year’s Day. He had gone last year on New Year’s Eve. He made his wish and threw in some coins. “I wish for a big, fat bank account and a slim body. I sure hope you don’t get these mixed up like you did last year!” I am still into making New Year’s resolutions, but they certainly have changed over the decades.
Our Sunday school lesson focused on the need for unity. We Christians certainly have failed often at uniting to carry out the work of the Christ. Our scripture from Ephesians 4:1-16 stressed the importance of being in agreement and not blown around by trivial things. I guess we need to decide what strikes at the heart of Christianity and then make sure we are united in those things.
Last week our crew went to Lakeside Assisted Living for the monthly program. As is usual in late December, some residents and volunteers were still “Christmasing” and unavailable. But the group was merry anyway. Mrs. Hilda kept the music—Christmas and not—lively, and the emcee duties were handled by Maggie, Pastor Matt, and Sue (triple threat). Pastor Matt shared a devotional on Luke, the meaning of “In the Garden,” and a history of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Nora explained the meaning of all parts of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and then led a lively singing of it. Gene sang Christmas songs also, but with different rhythms (like calypso) and tunes. Sue read How Santa Got His Job. Instead of the usual “God Be with You,” the group finished with “Silent Night” and a benediction from Pastor Matt.
I have been working on “End of the Year Reports” for the district and conference. Unlike in days of old, everything is done online and no longer requires pastors to show up at the district office to be audited. We Methodists tend to be very methodical, and I think that is a good idea. I really appreciate our treasurer, Gene, who pays our bills and takes care of all the financial needs of the church. Gene is always a great help in getting the financial part of the reports completed. After worship, we loaded up the cans of soup to deliver to Community Christian Services next week. January’s donation will be tuna.
We at Paxton United Methodist Church wish everyone a Happy New Year. If you are looking for a place to worship God as part of your New Years resolutions, we certainly would love to have you. We are small but neighborly.
“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 email@example.com. 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.