October 24, 2016 - Sunday was the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost. Last Sunday’s parable about the persistent widow is followed in the Luke Gospel by another short parable, which speaks of another “great reversal,” a common theme in both the Jewish and First Century Christian Testaments. In the story both a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the Temple . The Pharisee is sure that he is righteous and will be blessed by God. The tax collector is just as convinced that he is a sinner and deserves nothing from God. The Pharisee, who probably does try very hard to be a good person, allows pride and a judging attitude to overwhelm his efforts at a godly life. The tax collector has no illusions about how he has lived, but we all hope he can know God’s forgiveness as he tries to live a better life.
Fannie, as usual, prepared a very interesting Sunday school lesson. Our scripture came once again from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, with Paul speaking about Melchizedek who was a king, priest, and prophet of the Most High God. This king befriends Abraham, and Paul sees some connection between Melchizedek and Jesus. For us Jesus is our high priest—holy, innocent, incorrupt, and raised high above the Heavens.
We had a really small crowd for Sunday school and worship, with several out of pocket. Since both Joe and Hilda were out, Gene selected songs from the Methodist Hymnal, and Sue played the CDs. We have the entire Methodist Hymnal on CD which sure doesn’t mean we can sing them all! But we did a pretty good job.
This past week we headed to Holiday Nursing Center. Fannie, Nora, Jo, and Hilda are so faithful to visit and to share with the residents of various nursing centers. Sue had been sick all week but is finally starting to feel some better. I had cataract surgery on my second eye and can now see so well! People told me how pleased I would be, but I really didn’t process what they told me until I experienced it myself. I drove last night in the dark for the first time in a long time, and I could see very clearly! This month we have been collecting peanut butter and jelly for Community Christian Services. Next month we will collect rice and beans.
Saturday night I watched as the Cubs won and are headed from the World Series for the first time in 71 years. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908! My daughter and I are big Cub fans and just a few minutes after the Cubs turned the final double play, she was on the phone so we could enjoy the victory together. A week from Monday will be Halloween. I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas and remember that “trick or treat” was a community affair. It still is, but in a different way—with organizations and churches hosting celebrations.
The early Christian missionaries were quite clever in placing Christian holy days at the same time as pagan holidays. It is why we celebrate Christmas in December. It is also why the pagan fall festival became “All Hallowed Saints Eve” and that for centuries November 1 was All Saints Day. The Christians once again co-oped a pagan celebration and made it a Christian holy day. We Protestants certainly have a different understanding of sainthood than our Catholic brothers and sisters, but I imagine most Protestants would view Mother Theresa as saintly. In the Anglican Church (Church of England) those trouble makers John and Charles Wesley are now viewed as saints! So it goes.
“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!