September 26, 2016 - Sunday was the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. This is the last Sunday in September. If predictions are right, we should have some rain and finally some fall-like temperatures. I am not ready for winter, but I am so ready for fall or autumn. I used the Epistle Lesson from 1 Timothy 6 and from the Old Testament, Amos 6. All the lections (scriptures) deal with our love of money and material things and how throughout history our desire for more has moved us further and further away from God.
In my sermon I once again asked my congregation to look at the Epistle Lesson through the eyes of a first century Jew. Paul took Jesus’ call for Kingdom living very seriously and also that Jesus had said the Kingdom of God was at hand. Paul urged Timothy and others to grab onto the Kingdom and never let go. The Kingdom was not something to be experienced in another life but to be encountered in the here and now. Paul Tillich describes a kingdom life as “a self-giving life that affirms the eternity of life with God.”
Our Sunday school lesson was titled “Everlasting Covenant.” Our scripture was from Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11, much more upbeat than early chapters of Isaiah. After some sixty chapters of pretty bleak warnings and terrible events, this Isaiah reminds the people that the God of the Covenant is ready to proclaim release for the captives and give them reasons to celebrate. Our time together went very quickly and many questions and ideas were discussed.
This past week was a busy one. On Tuesday a group of us headed to Holiday Nursing Center for a program of song and stories. It had been a busy day at Holiday, where they had their annual Pageant. But we had a good time and appreciate the residents of Holiday inviting us to come each month. It was great to see Sylvia, who played the piano and sang for the residents. On Thursday we went to Lakeside Assisted Living. Ms. Hilda had quite a program prepared. Anna Bardwell, Hannah Menifee, and Josiah Menifee played the violin, mandolin, and piano. They are all three very talented young people. Our other volunteers kept things lively with songs and readings. We had a large crowd and a large number of volunteers.
On Thursday evening was our Charge Conference. In the Methodist system of doing things, the Charge Conference is a big deal. I was not raised a Methodist and in the beginning I found Methodist terminology and the Methodist way of doing things strange. The Charge Conference is a way for churches to reflect on the past year and also to file reports and budgets for 2017. The new District Superintendent for the East District, Rev. Tony Vincent, gave a devotional and conducted the conference. Rev. Karen Jones and FUMC Center hosted the Methodist Churches of Shelby County.
I officiated at the wedding of Valerie Jones and Mark McLaughlin at FUMC Carthage on Saturday night. It was a very nice wedding, short (the way they wanted it) but meaningful. Valerie and Mark are two wonderful young people, and we all them a wonderful life together.
“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!