July 26, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. The typical Texas summer weather pattern has come to our part of East Texas. After months of rain and more moderate temperatures, next week promises to reach almost 100! I am watering my various gardens and fruit trees every day, which takes about an hour and a half. But gardening has kept me going during the quarantine, so I have no complaints.
That is not completely true. I can always complain about something. People, we must step up and get vaccinated! Texas and most other states are seeing Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths increasing at an alarming rate. We are entering a fourth wave. This spike will be be mostly among those not yet vaccinated. But there are breakthrough infections among those who have already had Covid-19 and those who are vaccinated. These are very troubling times. It is your patriotic—and Christian—duty to get your vaccination now!
Fannie had a very thought-provoking lesson prepared for us. The title of the lesson was “Love Your Neighbor. Really.” Ms. Fannie asked us what story we usually associate with being a good neighbor: The Good Samaritan, of course. But the scripture for today that Gene read was Mark 2: 1-12 about four men who lower their paralyzed friend through a hole they created in the roof. This man is not only healed but also forgiven. Of course, that sets off the legal experts who wonder who this Jesus thinks he is.
Sue operates the CD player; luckily, we have many hymns on CDs. We are able to play and sing the Gloria Patri and the Doxology in response to our Affirmation of Faith and our offering. Today’s hymns were “Shall We Gather at the River” and “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand.” Both songs have water themes, which I thought was appropriate for the Sunday we read about Jesus walking on the water.
My sermon was based on the scripture, John 6: 1-21. Today’s Gospel tells two miracle stories. The first is about Jesus feeding the multitude and the second, Jesus walking on water, telling his disciples not to fear. Each of these beloved stories should have its own Sunday, but for some reason the lectionary scholars put them together. I focused on Jesus’ caution to avoid being fearful. We are living in scary times and need to call upon Jesus, as well as our friends and families that God has given us, to calm our anxious minds.
All during the month of July, Paxton Methodist collected cans of spaghetti and ravioli for Community Christian Services. I will deliver the food and some checks to Community Christian Services. In August, with its school reopenings, we will focus on “Undie Sundays” to help outfit returning students. This was the original monthly collection for Christian Services at Joaquin Methodist, which later was expanded to various foods and hygiene items each month. It’s August, so we will be collecting kids’ underwear and socks all month long.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.