April 27, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the third Sunday of Easter. We certainly had plenty of rain at our house this week. Last Sunday we had 4 inches in our rain gauge; on Wednesday we had 6 inches! Needless to say, that was way too much in a short time. Sue and I live just a couple of houses from downtown Joaquin on Highway 84, where the highway flooded. The road behind town was washed away, so the city crews have to reinstall the huge culverts. Until then that road is closed. Of course, this summer we are going to wish we had some of this rain.
Sue showed me on Facebook that the Joaquin City Park is going to reopen on Monday. The dogs and I certainly have missed getting our exercise at the park and have substituted walks around town for the last month and a half. Sue has started joining us for our morning and evening walks. I am not sure whether we are trying to normalize in general too soon. I will continue to avoid contact with others as I keep safe distance and wear my mask and gloves. I think we are all anxious for things to get back to the way they were, but I am not sure that is possible this soon. The number of Covid-19 cases is still on the rise in our county and state; the White House says there should be 14 days of no increases before things start reopening.
The bishop of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church sent out an email urging churches in our area not to have in-person worship during the month of May. Paxton Methodist has such a small membership that we could easily practice “safe distancing” if we decided to head back. But we are also an older—oops, “more mature”--congregation, and some have health issues that could make them more susceptible to the virus.
The Gospel Lesson for the 3rd Sunday of Easter comes from Luke 24: 13-35. We moved to Luke because it is the only gospel that has the story of the walk to Emmaus. The two Jesus followers are heading to Emmaus and are joined by a stranger who turns out to be the Christ. The post-resurrection appearances of the Christ during the forty days between Easter and the Ascension are always wrapped in mystery and confusion before there is recognition. In these stories, the Christ seems to vanish as soon as the disciples’ eyes are open. What the disciples discover is that the “Holy Presence” remains as the Spirit makes itself felt, seen, and known.
The most important and eye-opening part of this wonderful story in Luke is the friendship that develops along the way between the two disciples and the stranger. The sharing of a meal replaces isolation and loneliness with community. This sharing of a meal—communion—became a major part of true Christian worship.
Paxton Methodist has been collecting toothbrushes and toothpaste for Community Christian Services. Sue and I will go by church this week to pick these items up and get them to CCS. In the month of May we will be collecting cans of fruit. We have an anniversary in May—Joy and Gene will celebrate their wedding day on the 17th. Our nursing home ministries are on hold until we get an “all clear” notice from the various facilities. The volunteers who go each month got a really nice card from Focused Care in Center.
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.” Normally Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. But during the Pandemic our usually “open doors” are closed. 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.