April 26, 2021 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus. Sunday was the 4th Sunday of Easter. Springtime and Easter certainly go together like peas and carrots! With the rain and the warmer temperatures, we see rebirth and renewal all throughout nature—a vital and sacred part of God’s Kingdom. With our brutal cold snap earlier this year, I thought I lost many different plants in my garden. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. One set of bushes that I slated for the chainsaw has budded out—a wonderful sight.
Since we resumed in-person worship, our music has been on CD. We can hum the song under our masks but no vigorous singing! Both pieces I selected were found in the Methodist hymnal so we could follow the words if we wanted to. The first hymn, by Charles Wesley and considered the anthem of the Methodist movement, was “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” It has a multitude of verses, but the singer thankfully chose just three. Our second selection, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” also from the 1700s, is one of my wife’s favorite hymns.
Our Sunday School lesson continued to stress the importance of Sabbath rest as a spiritual practice. The main purpose of the lesson was to remind us that we need to have a faithful spirit all the time. The scriptural focus was 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18: Paul reminds us that we live in an imperfect world, where no one is immune from suffering and hardship. Along with that truth, he says that death is at work in all living things—but that there must also be life at work in us. Paul links the words grace, gratitude, and glory together in his letter.
In my sermon I focused on John’s first letter, 3: 17-18, 31. John the Elder’s epistle explains to a Jesus community how one comes to experience the great love expressed and shown by Jesus. In several of the other scriptures for this Sunday, Jesus is depicted as the good shepherd. That image is certainly one we find comforting. Our Psalter lesson was the 23rd Psalm, probably the best-known psalm among Christian folk.
On Sunday afternoon we met again to celebrate the life of Rose McNeill. Our little church was packed with family and friends. Afterward Larry hosted a reception at his and Rose’s lovely home.
Paxton Methodist is having in-person worship; we respect each other by wearing masks and keeping socially distant. Scientists and medical professionals, who know more than politicians about this subject, say that we can do three simple things to curtail the spread of Covid-19: wash our hands regularly, stay at least six feet apart—social distancing, and yes, wear a mask—or maybe two masks—mask-wearing is the patriotic thing to do. It is also the Christian thing to do, loving your neighbor as you love yourself. And get that vaccine! How has simple science—wearing a mask or getting a vaccine—become a political hot button issue? Let’s all use our common sense and defeat Covid-19 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, and Open Minds.” Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is email@example.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist, you can send your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.