October 18, 2016 - Sunday was the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost. We are nearing the end of the Christian year, and a new year will soon begin. On October 30th, we Protestants will celebrate Reformation Sunday and the next day, All Hallowed Saints Eve. Then the first day of the new month is the wonderful Christian holy day—All Saints Day. Christians around the world will remember the saints that died during this past year and also all the saints that have kept the faith alive throughout the years. So, weeks have gone by since the last Christian Holy Day—Pentecost-- and suddenly there is furry of celebrations that were so important to our Christian forefathers and mothers. One is a holy day that answers Walter Bruggerman’s question, “Will the faith have children?” All Saints Day is a strong and emphatic YES!
Our scripture for our Sunday school lesson was Hebrews 4:14-5:10, where Paul speaks about an obscure figure from Genesis—Melchizedek. This warrior-king, priest, and prophet showed kindness as Abraham and his family were on their long trek to the land that God promised them. Paul says that Jesus is our High Priest in the tradition of Melchizedek. Fannie, as always, kept us on point and did a wonderful job with a sometimes puzzling scripture.
The Gospel Lesson that served as one of my two sermon scriptures is also a puzzling one. Luke 18:1-8 is the short parable Jesus told about the unjust bullying judge and the persistent widow. There could not be a greater contrast in story characters. The judge had power and wealth and the widow had nothing—no husband, no inheritance, no future. And yet through her refusal to live in the status quo and her continued call for justice, she overcame the mean judge whose job was to uphold the status quo. Even though life had been tough for the widow, she lived in the Kingdom of God . Jesus said this about the Kingdom: “The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For in fact, the Kingdom of God is among you—within you.” The Kingdom resided within the widow and that made all the difference in her life.
Larry was back from a family reunion in Arkansas and said that Rose and he had a great time. But since Arkansas hasn’t had a frost, the trees hadn’t changed yet. I agree with Larry that once autumn comes to Arkansas , the changing color of the leaves rivals New England .
I head back to the doctor Monday to have my other eye worked on. Carolyn will also have her second eye worked on Monday, and I hope all goes well with her. Having the cataract removed from my right eye and a new lens implanted has made a world of difference. I hope my left eye is as successful.
Each year Methodist pastors have to fill out a self-evaluation. I have filled out the same evaluation for the last seventeen years, so it is hard to come up with something new. It really reminds me of school. I served as a teacher and principal and was on both sides of the evaluation process. I remember a dear, sweet High School teacher who was nearing the end of her career. She told the principal, “I’m no better or worse than I was last year.” Everyone who taught with her knew that wasn’t true—she was an inspiration to us all, but evaluations year after year do get tedious. The church members also fill out a yearly evaluation, and I appreciate their hard work.
This Tuesday is our ministry at Holiday Nursing Center . Then a week from this Thursday will be our ministry at Lakeside Village . Both are at 2:00 and everyone is welcome. Our little congregation is so thankful for the many volunteers from other churches who come to visit, tell stories, share ideas, and sing.
“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!