October 7, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. Could it be? Is it possible that cooler fall weather is just around the corner? We are called to be a hopeful people, so I am going to believe that yes, autumn is almost here!
The Old Testament Lesson was from the first chapter of Lamentations, and my sermon spoke about the need to know how to lament—to express our feelings of despair—from time to time. It is one of the ways—a time of prayer to get in touch with the Mystery that we call God. The great theologian, Paul Tillich, last century referred to this Mystery as the God above God. No matter how we try to understand, we will always fall short in comprehending and certainly in explaining this Infinite God!
Fannie, Sue, Larry McNeil, and I met with our District Superintendent, Dr. Dick White, Saturday. It was such a busy weekend for folks as Tenaha was celebrating their homecoming, and Shelby County was in the midst of the Poultry Festival. The church had a meeting last Sunday to approve all the reports, a 2020 budget, and payment of all our conference and district apportionments. The church also decided to continue with me as their pastor in 2020. So the actual Charge Conference went smoothly. Dr. White has strong ties to Shelby County, even though his family has long roots in the eastern part of Nacogdoches County. Dr. White, Larry, and Fannie knew many of the same folks, and all have a great love of history in this area of East Texas. Sue had cookies and bottled water for the visit after the conference: Dr. White had another Charge Conference with the good folks at Tenaha and Timpson Methodist Churches after ours.
Our Sunday school lesson was an obscure story from Joshua about Achan who betrays God and the Israelites by taking some of the gold and silver that was set aside for God when Jericho was captured. This disrespect would be costly to everyone, not just Achan. The author really stressed the importance of confession, which often is followed by forgiveness.
The Gospel Lesson today was a parable of Jesus that didn’t have a hero like the Good Samaritan or a heart-warming conclusion like the Prodigal Son. The disciples wanted Jesus to give them a bigger portion of faith so they would be able to do notable things for the Kingdom. Jesus assured them that their faith was greater than they imagined, that they only needed a faith the size of a mustard seed to do wonderful deeds. This is one of five times in the Gospels that Jesus spoke of the tiny mustard seed.
Today was World Communion Sunday, when a billion Christians in churches around the world celebrated communion. I reminded our small group that when we went to the altar, we would be going forward with hundreds of millions who believe in hope over fear and goodness over hate.
I delivered checks and macaroni and cheese to Community Christian Services last week. This month we are collecting peanut butter and jelly. On Monday we head to Focused Care for our ministry there. Ms. Hilda is so dedicated to the nursing home ministries; she keeps us informed and often plays the piano for us when we get there.
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.