February 10, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany and the second Sunday in February. My computer has been in the shop this past week getting updates and fine tuning. I feel powerless, even though I don’t use my computer except for word processing and the internet. I have most of my church stuff stored on an external drive, so I’m able to plug it in to my wife’s computer. But that is like driving a borrowed car—it just doesn’t feel right. I am not sure I will get out my weekly article or my weekly email to church folks, but I am trying. It is Saturday morning and I am still working on my sermon. I am not one to wait until the last minute to get things done. That last-minute flurry seems to work for some people, but it drives me crazy—and I already feel a little crazy.
Sometimes the season following the Epiphany is long, and sometimes it is short. The length of this time depends on where Easter falls on the calendar. Counting back from Easter decides when to have Transfiguration Sunday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent. This year Easter is April 12, so Ash Wednesday is February 26, followed by the forty days of Lent. The events during this time become the foundational narrative for the Christian faith.
We met for Sunday School and Church Services at Ms. Fannie’s house since the propane in the church’s tank was running low. We were in double digits and sure appreciate Fannie opening up her house for our worship. Our Sunday School lesson was titled “Holy Presence,” with the scripture from Exodus 40: 16-38. The lesson reminds us that even though we know that God is always with us, it is still important to have special places and special days to remind us of God’s loving spirit. The author calls those special days “set-apart days.”
The Gospel lesson for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany carries on right where last week’s Gospel ends. It is a continuation of Jesus’ manifesto—The Sermon on the Mount. After explaining who was blessed in God’s Kingdom, Jesus tells his audience that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I imagine that sounded a little strange to those peasants in the Galilee; in the world of Roman domination and even their own Temple authorities, they certainly were not seen as blessed, but as people to be abused and run over. That is still true today as the poor are ignored, vilified, and pushed down even further.
Last week was the first Monday of February, which is the time for our program at Focused Care Nursing Home. Hilda was in fine form on the piano, adding all kinds of flourishes! I emceed, including sharing a little of last Sunday’s sermon on my favorite Bible verse: Micah 6:8. Fannie read a favorite patriotic poem entitled “God Bless America.” Sue talked about the excitement of seeing Rocky (before there was a Rocky II, III, and so on down the line). She also read The Bus Driver from the Black Lagoon, a children’s picture book. Jo brought a poem she likes, “The Voice of Gold,” since her sister Nora couldn’t attend. Pastor Sarah found an interesting way to tie Great Danes and Dalmations to God: Even though we don’t see God, we know he’s there—just like she knew those dogs existed although she hadn’t actually seen one. And mostly, we had a good time singing old standards with the lively group at Focused Care.
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.” 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.