February 19, 2018 - Sunday was the first Sunday of Lent. In the Gospel Lesson today from Mark, we see Jesus whisked away to the wilderness right after his baptism. For the next forty days Jesus fasts, prays, and is tempted. The temptations in Mark are not spelled out, leaving it to the hearer’s or reader’s imagination as to what they actually were. The number 40 is important in Jewish numerology and often signifies completeness. Traditionally, people try to give up a bad habit or something they think is important during the 40-day Lenten season. I have tried to give up something th
February 11, 2018 - Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday. This is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday is early this year, falling on Valentine’s Day. Lent is the forty days before Easter when we study the last weeks of Jesus’ life, preparing our hearts and souls for Easter. Easter this year is April 1st –April Fool’s Day. Strange year!
February 5, 2018 - Sunday was the 5th Sunday after Epiphany. Last Friday Sue and I went to the Ram Café for breakfast: We saw Roy, Slow, Charlie, and Doug. When I got back home I bundled up and took the three dogs to the park. Abner, Gunter, and Stella always have a great time. Abner and I have walked in the park almost every morning for eleven years. Abner has inoperable cancer and has really slowed down. But if he sees a squirrel, that squirrel better watch out! Friday morning it was breezy and there was a chill in the air. I was happy to get back home.
January 29, 2018 - Sunday was the 4th Sunday after Epiphany. I have not preached the last two Sundays. After spending a week in the hospital I got to come home just in time to watch the beautiful snow falling. After a few days of feeling better, I was diagnosed with the flu. Sue got the same diagnosis, and we have both been quarantined quietly at home. Finally I have started to improve, but still am weak.
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.
December 26, 2017 - Sunday was Christmas Eve, and our Gospel reading was Luke 2:1-20, part of the birth story. The reading sounded a little different because it was from the Jewish New Testament that uses Jewish names (Yosef and Miriam, for instance) and place names. But the story of the babe of Bethlehem is one that resonates with everyone, whether they are Christian or not. The idea of God coming into creation as a helpless, vulnerable baby is an idea seldom seen in other religions.
December 18, 2017 - Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent. This is often called Mary’s Sunday, as we celebrate the angel coming to Mary with the unbelievable news. The Advent candle we light is the one that stands for rejoicing. We rejoice with Mary. We remember Paul tells us that no matter our circumstances, we are to rejoice. Next Sunday we will have our Christmas Eve service at our regular worship time—10:00 AM. Paxton Methodist will not have services Christmas morning. Center FUMC will have a communion service at 5:00 and a candlelight service at 6:00 on Christmas Eve.
December 11, 2017 - Sunday was the Second Sunday of Advent. It was a cold Sunday morning, but then again, it’s just about two weeks before Christmas. Winter has yet to make its official entry this year, but try telling that to the folks south of us who got a rare December snowfall! We are in a Christian year that stresses the Gospel of Mark. Even though Mark is the second Gospel in the Bible, we know it is the oldest—written about 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. According to the Mark Gospel, the Good News (the definition of “gospel”) begins with John the Baptizer urging p
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.
November 27, 2017 - Sunday was Christ the King Sunday. The Gospel Lesson for the last Sunday on the Christian Calendar was Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus is dividing the sheep from the goats—those who will live in the Kingdom and those who will wander lost. And what was the test—did you feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison? That is how Jesus judged those seeking entry into the Kingdom of God.