December 12, 2016 - Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent. Traditionally this Sunday has been known as Gaudete Sunday and the command is that we rejoice. This Sunday we used the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary as our Gathering Words. Mary, a young peasant girl around 13 or 14, speaks of her spirit rejoicing; her joyous words tell of good news where the powerful will be brought low and those that struggle will be exalted.
The Epistle Lesson for Sunday was James 5:7-10. This small group of verses set inside this small epistle reminds the faithful to be patient, just like the farmer who waits for spring or rain. We humans do not do a very good job of being patient. I remember my father saying that he wanted patience and he wanted it right now! James is dealing with a growing problem in the Jewish Jesus communities. The faithful are waiting for Jesus to return and set things right. They remember that he said that this generation will not taste death as the Kingdom was coming very soon. And yet more and more of “this generation” were dying off, and anxiety was setting in. Patience, says James!
Ms. Hilda and the faithful headed off to Green Acres last Monday. Pastor Matt was home from seminary and led the singing. On Monday Sue had to take me to the doctor in Shreveport to have my eyes checked out. I got a good report, always a nice feeling. This coming Thursday we will go to Lakeside Village Assisted Living. Ms. Hilda said Joyce Hughes plans to be there, which means we will have some wonderful music and singing. Then a week from this coming Tuesday (December 20th) our monthly ministry is at Holiday Nursing Center .
Last Tuesday 33 folks met at Paxton Methodist for our annual Paxton Community Christmas Party. We had plenty of good music and stories and, of course, food. We love seeing our neighbors and folks who have long ties to Paxton. Christmas Morning Services will be at 10:00 AM, and there will be no Sunday School that day.
Our new District Superintendent is the Reverend Tony Vinson; I will meet with him for a yearly meeting in January. In fine, organized Methodist fashion, churches are preparing the “End of Year” Reports for the District and Conference. All United Methodist Churches, large or small, must fill out pages of numbers. I have really good help from the Paxton folks. Gene is our treasurer and keeps close tabs on the monies. Gene has gotten me answers to all the finance questions, so last night I started entering data into the End-of-Year Reports. In years past all Methodist ministers would head to the District office to have their records audited. But with the Internet our reports are sent through Ezra Reporting System to our District and Conference. John Wesley was always a forward-looking person, but he would be amazed by all the advancements since his day. He would also be saddened to see that war is more common than peace and that the powerful and well-heeled are even more in charge than in his day.
Community Christian Services is in full swing this holiday season. Food and clothing giveaways at the former Haslam Baptist parsonage are monthly now; that part of CCS is so well organized—and making plans to expand further. First Baptist has been gathering, organizing, and wrapping children’s Christmas gifts of clothes and toys: Their pick-up day is set for Friday, December 16. The East Texas motorcycle guys had a rally at Joaquin Methodist this past weekend, with all proceeds going to the part of CCS run by that church. Everyone seemed to be having a great time at the rally, and their big hearts make life easier for needy families here.
“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. God’s Speed!