February 13, 2017 - Sunday was the 6th Sunday of the Epiphany, a season which is very long this year because Easter is so late. The Council of Nicaea in 325 CE decreed that Easter would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Our Gathering Words this morning came from the Apocrypha—Sirach 15:15-20. Early Christians considered the books of the Apocrypha as authoritative, although they weren’t included in the Old or New Testaments. The Old Testament Lesson was Deuteronomy 30:15-20. What we have here is Moses’ Farewell Address. He has summoned the people together and tells them they must choose between life and death. They are to follow God’s ways and live in covenant with God and their fellow travelers or choose a path that leads to death.
The Holy Gospel continued with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Matthew certainly doesn’t see Jesus as one who came to replace the Torah, but as one who would perfect the Torah. Jesus reminds them that the Torah says one shall not murder. But Jesus takes that command further, stating that one must not have anger towards one’s brothers and sisters. Jesus tells the listeners to make things right—to get rid of the anger. Next Sunday continues with the Sermon on the Mount.
We had a big-for-Paxton crowd at church Sunday. Lillie, Liz, and Mike were up from Houston for a few days and joined us for worship. Having them with us really makes our day, reminding us how important friends are. Laura and Joe teamed up to lead us in our singing. Mrs. Hilda is so kind to join us each Sunday to play the piano, especially after she has already been to church in Tenaha. Susan was under the weather, and we always miss her when she is not here. For the altar, Sue brought the Valentine’s Day floral display that I got her at Sunshine Flowers. And Liz gave everyone a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Mrs. Fannie had a really good Sunday school lesson from Galatians 4: 8-20. Paul is trying to heal a rift that has developed about the Torah in the church of Galatia. One of the earliest disputes in the early church dealt with the question of whether Christian converts first needed to be converted to Judaism. This dispute is witnessed to in Acts and in many of Paul’s writings.
Paxton has two more nursing home outreaches this month. On Tuesday February 21st we go to Holiday Nursing Center. Two days later, Thursday February 23rd we head to Lakeside. In some months the third Tuesday and fourth Thursday end up in the same week. Both ministries begin at 2:00 PM.
“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!