September 12, 2016 - Sunday was the 17th Sunday after Pentecost. I was going to preach on the assigned Gospel for the 17th Sunday but kept being pulled to the stark words of the prophet Jeremiah. So my sermon used the Old Testament text and the Epistle. Jeremiah’s words in 4:23-28 paint a very bleak picture of the world. Last week my sermon ended with words from writers at the end of WWII. Writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien used metaphor and fantasy to rescue people from their despair. After the horrors of WWII it was hard to imagine what the future held. No one even wanted to look because after such devastation and inhumanity, what could the future hold? Like Jeremiah, these Christian writers spoke of hope and the possibility that things would be better.
Sunday was Patriot Day, when we remember the awful events of September 11. That horrible day we wondered if there could be any kind of future. For many days there was a sense of the hopelessness that had been felt by Jeremiah’s people and the “Greatest Generation” of WWII. But our faith is about hope even in the midst of tragedy. It is up to us—the hands, feet, eyes, ears, and voice of our brother Jesus—to work each day bringing his Kingdom to life where we are!
In good Methodist fashion, our church approved the budget for next year and voted to pay our conference and district apportionments, continued support for our church officers, and continued support of the pastor. Committee reports were signed, ready to go off to the District, and we will be all set to go to the Charge Conference in Center in a couple of weeks. I was not raised a Methodist and for so many years all these meetings and reports seemed strange to me. But over the last twenty years I have gotten used to the Methodist way of doing business.
Our songs today, chosen by Joe Fiedler, were just right for Patriot Day: “America the Beautiful” and “America,” which many people call “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” It’s impossible not to feel a stirring of the heart during these poetic descriptions of the land we love. Joe also had to admit to his upcoming birthday, his 89th, and we sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
During the month of September, we are collecting boxes of macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services. On Friday, September 23rd there will be a shot clinic at the Joaquin Senior Center: Flu, pneumonia, hepatitis, and T-dap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) shots will be offered from 9:30 until noon. All are welcome. Paxton Methodist has been a long-time supporter of the Gideons, and this year we will have a Gideon speaker on Sunday, October 9th. We have two more nursing home ministries this month, led ably by Mrs. Hilda.
“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!