April 6, 2021 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus. Old Man Winter seemed to resist giving up this past week, as we had several mornings with temperatures in the 30s. I sure was hoping there would not be a frost to wreak havoc on my gardening work. Several walks in the park this week were really chilly: My four-footed pals Gunter and Sam didn’t argue about cutting the walk short to go home. Of course, they know they are getting a treat when they get back.
Sunday was the most important holy day in the Christian faith. Easter, AKA Resurrection Sunday, speaks of new life and new hope. The messages of Easter are always welcome, but this year the promise of rebirth and renewal seems especially poignant. I guess everyone survived April Fools’ Day without being pranked—one thing quarantining is good for. It’s hard for me to realize that we are already in April of 2021.
We had special folks for Easter Sunday School. Brenda and Gene joined our regular group for a really good lesson. The main scripture focus was from the Luke Gospel, an early sighting of the resurrected Jesus when he fell in with two of his disciples on the road from Jerusalem. It wasn’t until nightfall that the two disciples noticed how their hearts had been warmed, finally realizing that the fellow traveler was Jesus himself.
All four gospel stories told about Easter Sunday. The shortest and earliest narrative comes from the Mark Gospel. I particularly like Mark’s version because he shows just how puzzled and frightened the first followers were. The original ending of this gospel has the women returning to the city, too afraid to tell anyone. Some sense of understanding and realization will come later.
Easter is a day that is built on hope and promise, the linchpin of our Christian faith. It was a beautiful morning and turned into a wonderful day. Our numbers for church swelled—almost twice the number we’ve had recently. Mrs. Fannie’s three grown children, son-in-law, and little granddaughter Grace filled up the Watson pew. Mrs. Hilda felt strong enough to venture out, and it was great to have Theresa and Larry. Our prayers are with Rose and Larry as they navigate medical mazes.
Since we resumed in-person worship, our music has been on CD. We can hum the song under our masks but no vigorous singing! I chose two of my favorites from the Methodist hymnal for our Easter songs. The first, sung by Cat Stevens, was “Morning Has Broken,” a softly beautiful rendition. Our other hymn, “Lord of the Dance,” is sung to the Shaker melody of “’Tis a Gift to Be Simple,” here by Donovan. Both are hopeful songs about life and renewal, good Easter themes.
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!
Easter was the first Sunday of the month, so it was also Communion Sunday at Paxton Methodist. As usual, I repeated the admonition of St. Teresa of Avila: Our task is to be the eyes, ears, body, hands, and feet of Jesus in this world. Our Covid-safe Communion has me giving each person a Ziploc bag containing a wafer and a sealed cup of grape juice—after thoroughly sanitizing my hands. Different but necessary.
I was sick much of this past week and didn’t get our March collection of cans of chili to Community Christian Services. I will put that down on next week’s to-do list. My dogs do not like the cans and boxes in “their” back truck seat! This month we are collecting toothbrushes and toothpaste—definitely lighter to deliver than cans of chili!
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.