May 29, 2017 - Sunday morning began with a little rain. When I started to Paxton, it was raining pretty good. By the time worship was over at 11:00, it was a sunny, warm, humid day. There are no promises in the weather department for Memorial Day. Sunday we celebrated the ascension of Jesus. This was another milestone in the church’s history, considered an important holy day. And of course, for us modern Americans, it was Memorial Day weekend. This solemn day dates back to just after the Civil War in the United States, called Decoration Day. Today’s families take a break, get together, have cookouts and remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. For the church the ascension marks the moment when the baton was handed off from Jesus to his followers, charging them with spreading the good news and helping bring God’s Kingdom upon the earth. Part of my sermon was also about the 2016 Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. As most everyone knows, I am a big Cubs fan, and I just finished reading a book about the Cub’s super year.
Our Sunday school lesson finished up a quarter, so we got new lesson books. Today’s lesson also finished Jonah’s story. We all know that instead of Jonah being happy that the people of Nineveh repented and that God saved the city, Jonah was angry at God for his great mercy. I think this strikes a chord in all humans, as we certainly want God and others to forgive us our shortcomings—but we are a lot less willing to forgive. We are not really sure that we want God to care for our enemies.
At the beginning of our Sunday school class, we had a nice surprise when Carolyn came in. Carolyn has been in Pennsylvania for the longest; we were so happy to see her and to hear what she has been up to. As our Sunday school class was ending, we had another surprise. Hilda and her sister Linda came in. Hilda looks so good, and her health is defiitely improving. Our numbers this morning soared into double digits. Cynthia played the piano for us again, which really appreciate. All month we have been collecting cans of fruit for Community Christian Services. In June we will be collecting paper towels and toilet paper. Next Sunday is Pentecost, when we celebrate the official birth of the Jesus movement and also Holy Communion.
We had our ministry at Lakeside this week. Pastor Matt started the program with prayer. Sue then spoke to the group, telling them how Mrs. Hilda's rehabbing was coming along. With accompaniment from Joyce Hughes, we sang a number of congregational songs. Tori was unable to attend, but Nora, Gene, and Jo kept us in tune (well, they tried) and making a joyful noise (more realistic). Joyce sang and played a lovely special of "Like a River, Glorious." Nora sang her soulful "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." Gene recited and then sang a modern favorite, "Hymn of Promise." At the end of the program, he led us in a stirring rendition of "God Bless America." Fannie read that hilarious piece, a 9-year-old's interpretation of God. Ollie read a sweet story of a little boy and an elderly man, both seeking God and finding him in each other. Sue recited various jump rope chants and song parodies from her childhood, like "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese" (to "On Top of Old Smoky"). Matt did a devotional on Jacob, choosing various verses to show how Jacob's faith evolved and matured over time.
“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.