July 12, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. We are in the middle of summer, in a period the church calls Ordinary Time. It has been hot and muggy, but I certainly remember much worse summers. That is all I am going to say because there is plenty of summer left to get really hot.
Ms. Fannie had a friend who came to visit from the great city of Dallas, and she joined us at Paxton Methodist. Our small Sunday School class really enjoys it when we have someone new study with us.
I taught today’s lesson, based on Ruth 2: 4-16. The stated purpose of the lesson was “to remember to care for the stranger in our land.” This certainly is a relevant—and very hot—topic today. In the scripture, the owner of the fields showed kindness to Ruth as she was following the harvesters, getting enough grain for her and her mother-in-law. Boaz assures her she will not be bothered and will be treated with respect. We remember, as the author said, that Ruth was a stranger in a strange land. The Torah requires Jewish people to remind themselves of the difficulty of being that “stranger in a strange land.” In like manner, the Discipline of the United Methodist Church says, “United Methodist churches are to welcome newly arriving migrants in their communities and to love them as we do ourselves…”
Our music today was again on CDs, “My Hope Is Built” and “I Am Thine, O Lord.” Sue, our music tech, chose today’s hymns by one necessary feature: Both had resting places where we could all take a breath! The CD musicians sometimes fly through the songs like they had somewhere else to be, with nary a thought for the congregation trying hard to keep up.
My sermon scripture was the Gospel lesson for this Sunday—Mark 6: 14-29. What a terrible story to include with tales of healing so many people, feeding 5,000 with just a small amount of food, and listing how and why people are blessed. This story centers on Herod and his wife and daughter. John the Baptizer has been arrested; this injustice is followed by demands from Herod’s wife, through their daughter, to have the Baptizer killed. After much agonizing, that is what Herod does. The focus on the sermon was the battle of good and evil that enveloped Herod, a battle that we humans all face in ordinary as well as extraordinary situations. To live in the Kingdom of God we must work daily—be born anew each day to goodness and justice and compassion. We must not choose the Dark Side. May the Force be with you!
All during the month of July, Paxton Methodist is collecting cans of spaghetti and ravioli for Community Christian Services. Come August—and school reopening—we will focus on “Undie Sundays” to help outfit returning students.
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.
Randy & Sue Smith/Paxton United Methodist Church