News from Paxton Methodist, Nov. 7

November 8, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. This Thursday is Veterans Day, so on Sunday we celebrated veterans, saying special prayers for those who gave so much for the country you and I love. Our first hymn was “America,” AKA “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” also commemorating these selfless heroes.

We have had some really cool mornings. I covered my citrus trees a couple of nights, still having lemons and limes that are not quite ripe. The (huge) lemons started out green and slowly have turned yellow. I will be busy in a week or so moving the trees into the greenhouse along with other potted plants. My dogs don’t seem to mind the cold at all and think I am kind of a nerd as I get all bundled up. My daughter gave me a Fitbit to keep up each day with the number of steps I take. Verdict: I have been averaging around 4 miles a day. Some of those steps are purposeful and others are just moving around and working in the yard and gardens.

Our Sunday School lesson from John was about Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and five fish. Our writer told us this is the only miracle story found in all four gospels. John, though, would not call it a miracle—but a sign as to who this Jesus was. Once again Jesus talks about helping the poor, making us feel guilty about the abundance of the kingdom. Unfortunately, religion sometimes does put a guilt trip on us. (My mother was pretty good at that too!) I guess we must struggle on and find our way, with the help of Jesus and our fellow travelers.

The Old Testament lesson came from the first chapter of Ruth. This is one of the most beloved books of the Bible and one of only two named for a woman. Parts of it are often used at weddings, even though the story isn’t about romantic love but about a steadfast love that comes from God. This week while I was working on my sermon, I knew I wanted to approach my sermon from different angles since I have preached this story many times. I also realized that I had too much to say and needed to make two sermons out of the material. So next week I will continue the wonderful words of love overcoming great sadness and grief. Naomi, full of sorrow and yes, bitterness, knew she had to find a way to keep on going. She forged on, showing Ruth how to live with strength.

Our first hymn was “America” in honor of the upcoming Veterans Day, a stirring choice at any time and particularly meaningful this week. Then we sang “Blessed Assurance,” a comforting and joyful hymn. Our song leader Joe says it’s one of his favorite hymn. We closed out our time of worship with “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” For celebrating Holy Communion, I used a liturgy called “Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful.”

Wednesday I took macaroni and cheese and a couple of checks to Community Christian Services. It is always refreshing and rewarding to see so many friends hard at work helping others. “Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks,” as William Shakespeare would say. In November, we will collect rice and beans. Joaquin First Baptist folks are also gearing up for Children’s Christmas, their part of CCS. They are organizing individuals and groups to “adopt” children, buying each a shirt, pants, shoes, and gift; First Baptist adds socks and Bibles.

We finished up our district reports this week, and I will send our Church Conference Reports to the District Office. Sue has bought some Covid-safe snacks and bottles of water for the conference, which will be November 20th at 2:00. We look forward as always to meeting with our District Superintendent, Dr. White.

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 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.