May 23, 2016 - Sunday was Peace with Justice Sunday in Methodist churches. Our focus this Sunday was on Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is the longest of Paul’s letters, so it comes first in the New Testament, right after the Acts of the Apostles. It is the first letter in the New Testament but was probably the last written of the genuine Pauline letters. Most of Paul’s letters were written to communities that Paul had founded and knew very well. That was not true about this letter: Paul had never been to Rome but wanted to visit and pass the hat for a mission trip to Spain. That never happened because Paul was arrested. Tradition tells us that Paul was executed in Rome.
Paul’s letter to the Romans was very important to Luther and the Protestant Reformation. In reading this letter, Luther came to believe that people are justified by faith alone. Luther didn’t believe that good works would save you, only faith. When the word faith or belief is used in the New Testament, a better translation would actually be trust. Paul believes that this trust in Christ is what transforms and saves us.
We were in double digits Sunday morning. Joy and Gene had their good friends, Larry and Bart, visiting from Houston. The Huttos brought them to Sunday school and church. They were such nice people, and we so enjoyed visiting with them. Evie and Liz were at church this morning; it is so nice to hear Liz’s pretty voice singing the hymns. Joe was feeling really weak, so he sat up front to lead our singing. Joe and Hilda picked popular hymns, and we sang pretty well. Thanks, Hilda and Joe! Sam Watson, Fannie’s grandson, graduated from high school last week, and Liz’s daughter Kayce will graduate from Joaquin this week.
Fannie’s Sunday school lesson was based on Luke 18: 15-17. In these verses Jesus told the disciples to let the children come to him, although the Common English Bible uses the word “babies” instead of “children.” Paul isn’t saying that we should have a childish faith but that our trust should be like a child’s. Children feel secure, trusting that their parents and other adults will take care of things. Paul will later remind his readers in 1 Corinthians that we are to give up childish ideas as we mature in faith.
“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 9:15 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!