December 5, 2017 - Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. Paxton Methodist Church looked so nice when I walked in. The Christmas tree was up and the sanctuary was decorated. The Advent candles were beautiful, and my mother’s nativity scene looked right at home. Everything is ready—thanks to various Paxton elves—for the Paxton Community Christmas Party Tuesday at 6:00.
We had our usual crowd—not really a crowd! We started our new series of Sunday school lessons, dealing with the early Jesus movement and their faith in Jesus. The scripture was Acts 3:11-21, about a man who is healed. Peter and John want every one to know that it is not them but Jesus who healed this man. They call Jesus the “author of life,” and we see that quite early in the development of the Jesus movement, Jesus is so much more than a prophet or teacher or healer.
Joe and Hilda teamed up to lead us on two Fannie Crosby songs. Carolyn gave Sue some readings for the days of Advent, and Fannie lit the Hope candle. Our scripture was from Isaiah 64, where we heard that the people were excited about the coming of the Lord into their lives. Sunday was the first Sunday of the month, so we celebrated Communion. Because our church was so decorated, our Communion “table” had to be the middle of our circle as we stood near the altar.
Sunday was the beginning of a new Christian year, a year in which the Gospel of Mark will be stressed. This provides a problem for the Christmas season since the Mark Gospel has no birth story, unlike Matthew and Luke. The reading from Mark 13:24-27 is an apocalyptic writing that urges Jesus followers to be ready when the Human One of God will return again. Advent is a time of waiting and preparing; our human nature often sees us becoming restless—we tend not to be a patient people!
Paxton Methodist decided to send a $500 check to CASA for their work with foster children. In the Methodist system, our church gives to the missions and programs of the world-wide Methodist Church and our Texas conference each month through our “apportionments.” But our small church also helps out with many local needs: providing scholarships, supporting the Gideons, relief to victims of natural disasters, funds for local food banks, assisting with school needs, and so on. We are also helping out with Joaquin’s Community Christian Services to provide Christmas gifts to young people. In a week I have a meeting with our new District Superintendent, Rev. White. At our Charge Conference, we met him for the first time—he seems a genuinely nice person.
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our Lakeside ministry was moved to the last Thursday of the month. No one seemed confused, though: Mrs. Fannie commented that she believed we had more people than she’d ever seen there! Minnie and Hilda handled the piano duties for congregational singing and some specials. Gene, Carolyn Hooker, and Nora all sang specials, so we had some fine talent. Pastor Matt, temporarily on holiday from SMU, was able to be there; his devotional was heartfelt, dealing with his own family’s recent loss. Maggie and Sue let Pastor Matt off from emcee responsibilities, continuing their trade-off running of the show. Readings were from Fannie and Ollie, with Sue telling a joke. We jumped in the Christmas season a little with “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and Nora’s two—“Up on the Housetop” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” With so many people, our congregational singing was strong, including Jo and Margie, who are kind enough to join us.
“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.