July 6, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Hope everyone had a great but safe July 4th. Sunday was the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, but the two main ideas of my sermon were citizenship and Jesus’ call to us to come and rest with him. Both of these are important themes, especially right now.
Sunday morning I woke up to rain—I guess we all did. By 8:00 AM we’d gotten about an inch and a half in downtown Joaquin. My puppies were ready for a walk around town, which they got—but in the rain. It has been so hot that my usual morning walk with the dogs has turned into a shorter one just around town. I am trying to transition to using my treadmill. My son gave me a subscription to Audible for Father’s Day: With it I can download books to my phone. I am listening to a biography of Huey Long right now, which makes walking on the treadmill a little easier.
We had a small crowd for Sunday School and church and hope everyone is doing OK. Our Sunday School lesson started the second unit of the summer, titled “A New People.” Our lesson was “Promised Restoration.” Gene read our scripture from Jeremiah 23: 1-8. Ms. Fannie kept bringing threads of this ancient story to our modern day. I guess the one constant between then and now is humans. We must remember that we Christians are hopeful people, having God’s promise of restoration and comfort.
I really like the paraphrase of Sunday’s Gospel from The Message. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.” Jesus doesn’t promise that our troubles or problems will magically disappear. But he provides a pathway full of family, friends, neighbors, and church family to help us on our life journey. He is the guide showing us the way to live in God’s Kingdom.
My sermon spoke about our great national holiday that we celebrated Saturday. America’s ideals are the envy of the world. Our country is a beautiful, unfinished canvas that we are still perfecting to this very day! I spoke about my parents—part of the Greatest Generation—and how both of them answered the call to serve in the Navy during WWII. I also spoke about my grandfather, who as a teenager took a dangerous journey to freedom from Imperial Russia to North Dakota.
Sue and I had a quiet July 4th. Well, every day is quiet now! I grilled hamburgers and Sue fixed the rest. (I got off easy.) Some of our neighbors shot off fireworks; our dogs are not fond of the noise, so typical old folks, we did nothing. On Wednesday Sue had a doctor’s appointment in Nacogdoches, and I went with her. She went by to visit with her mother (on cell phones through the glass hallway door). I took the recycling to the center and did a little shopping. Before we left Joaquin, we took a back seat full of toilet paper and paper towels to Community Christian Services. I also had two checks to deliver. CCS does a wonderful job, and they have such great people volunteering—really caring folks.
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.