January 7, 2019 - Sunday was the Epiphany, when traditions of the church have us celebrate the coming of the wise men. In our Christmas programs, the shepherds and the three kings arrive at the manger at the same time. This is the year of Luke in the Common Lectionary, but Luke doesn’t even mention wise men. Since the Epiphany landed on exactly on Sunday, I chose Matthew 2: 1-12 as my scripture. These mystics were not kings but wise men—scholars following the light to Bethlehem. What a wonderful story to inspire our own journeys into the mystery we call God.
I went to Tenaha Methodist for their church service to hear Pastor Matt preach and to have communion with my Tenaha Methodist friends. I was late to Paxton Sunday School but the part of the lesson I heard sounded very thought-provoking. The title of the lesson was “Hold Fast to God’s Love”: Accompanying scriptures were 2 Thessalonians 3: 1-5 and 2 John 4-11. The main focus was how to tell others about our faith story. We all have thoughts about “witnessing,” but for some of us it is hard to know how to do it effectively without offending or turning people off. I am going to keep my Sunday School book turned to January 6th this week and read over it again.
We were very saddened to hear that Center Methodist Pastor Karen’s husband Martin Jones passed away. I saw Dr. Thomas Franks listed in our local obituaries. Dr. Franks was Dean of the SFA Education Department for many years. My uncle, Ray Rinas, also died this week. My brother and sister-in-law headed to Kansas City for his funeral. It seems that 2019 got off to a sad start.
January is often a time of reflection as we say goodbye to one year and hello to another. I always fall into the trap of making resolutions, but at least I kept it to three this year. I am reading the book, The Mystic in You, so one of my resolutions is to try to open my eyes to the Divine that happens in the ordinary. The other two I am keeping a secret for now to see if I even try to maintain them. I don’t have a real good track record!
During the month of January, the church is collecting cans of tuna to donate to Community Christian Services. It is also the first Sunday of the month, so we celebrated Holy Communion using a liturgy that quotes from Teresa of Avila. This Thursday at 10:00 we will head to Focused Care for our ministry program. I hope we still sing some Christmas songs even though the twelve days of Christmas are past. We are in the midst of flu season and we all hope and pray that our friends at the various nursing centers have had their flu shots and will avoid illness this season.
Monday is “Report Day” for Methodist churches in the Texas Conference. Various reports have to be submitted to the District that are then forwarded to the Conference. Last century, when I first became a Methodist minister, we had to physically report to the District while auditors went through our reports. Now these reports are filed and submitted electronically. I wonder what John Wesley would think of that! I really appreciate our treasurer, Gene, for getting all the financial numbers ready for me to enter.
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.