June 29, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. I was a no-show for church on Father’s Day. It is pretty bad when the preacher does not show up on Sunday. I got sick and was sicker on Sunday. I have felt bad all this past week, but my headaches have abated some. Last Sunday was Father’s Day, which was the theme of my sermon. So even though this was the Sunday after Father’s Day, I gave the sermon I had prepared for that special Sunday. Next Sunday will be July 5th and part of that sermon will be a celebration of our nation’s Independence Day.
I usually use one of the scriptures selected for the Common Lectionary, but I went off script and used John 53: 19-23. “Jesus said, ‘I tell you most emphatically that the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son does in like manner. The Father loves the Son and shows him all the things that He himself is doing; and He will show him greater works than these, may marvel.’” We know that the way Jesus understand God was much different from most of the Jews and pagans of his day. He saw God as love and compassion. I think that his earthly father Joseph greatly influenced Jesus and how he viewed others, the world, and the Divine.
We had a thought-provoking Sunday School Lesson with the story of Hosea, Gomer, and their children serving as the scripture lesson. The title of the lesson was “Forever Love,” which certainly describes God. Ms. Fannie has been teaching us in fine rabbinic fashion. The ancient rabbis looked to what those in the story or scripture could learn from what is said. Then the teacher would explore what those who first read Hosea 1: 2-11 could glean from the scripture. And then, and I think most important, what can we take for today from what was written. Fannie wants us to explore that ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern day living and problems.
We are still in the grips of this terrible deadly virus. Just pretending it doesn’t exist and acting as if all is well has led to spikes of the virus, hospitalizations, and death. Texas is one of the 21 states to see staggering increases in Covid 19 cases. Because of the polarized feelings in parts of our country I don’t see any credible response to the Coronavirus any time soon. Our leaders are really between a rock and a hard place with few good options. The Joaquin Senior Center had planned a modified re-opening July 6, but the board has looked at the facts and postponed the re-opening.
We had a visit from our daughter and her wonder dog Stella this week. She has been isolated at home for months, fortunately being able to work from there. The company she works for had started having employees return to the office, but with the massive increase of virus cases has put off the next stage. So our daughter will continue working at home, which greatly relieves her.
Sue and I have pretty much stayed at home and have been mostly quarantined. During this time of isolation, I have read some historical books and have also spent time thinking about my parents and grandparents. Much of my sermon spoke to the influence that my Dad had on my brother and me and the influence my father-in-law had on my wife and her siblings. Both men were from that “greatest generation,” and both had a strong sense of decency and compassion that they passed on to us.
During the month of June, Paxton Methodists have been collecting toilet paper and paper towels for Community Christian Services. Sue and I will deliver the goods and some checks from members to Community Christian Services this week. In July we will be collecting cans of ravioli and spaghetti.
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.
Randy & Sue Smith/Paxton United Methodist Church