September 28, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. Sunday was the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We had our usual small crowd with folks out of town—and some out of the country having a really fun time! Hope to see everyone soon. The weather has been pleasant with cool mornings; the afternoons, even though warm, have featured really low humidity. Dog walks and working in the yard have been downright delightful. The days are definitely getting shorter, though, so we know winter is coming.
I talked with two of my favorite people last week. Lillie called me, and we got all caught up with her doings and ours at church. Lillie is such a lovely, gracious, and kind lady: We certainly miss her since she moved to Houston. Speaking of lovely people, Hilda and I had a really good time talking and laughing on a recent phone visit. She sure misses Shelby County, all her friends, and Paxton Church, but she is adjusting well to her new digs in Beaumont. At church, Larry mentioned that he called Hilda also. We certainly miss Hilda and all she did for the church—most importantly, to inspire us with her gentle ways.
Our Sunday School lesson had a really long scripture that served as the basis for the lesson. The author said the purpose was to discover the privileges and responsibilities of being part of God’s household. John Wesley, speaking about Christian Perfection, sounded a lot like St. Paul here. Paul said we are to pursue seriously our goal to be perfected. He also reminded us not to dwell too long on the past, instead reaching out for all that is in front of us. The author told us that when Paul says “Christ is our peace,” the word for peace means a state of completeness and wholeness. This week’s bulletin quote from H. Jackson Brown, Jr., carried on the same theme: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”
Sue got our worship started with our Gathering Words, based on Psalm124. We also said together A Modern Affirmation, which states that when we fall short we are to try again. The Gospel, Mark 9:38-41, reinforced the idea that Jesus felt those doing good are not to be condemned or stopped. The disciples had become irritated by another exorcist casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but Jesus pointed out that righteous action should be praised.
I began my sermon by talking about the Old Testament lesson, which was all about Esther. One oddity of this book is that the word God is never used—but we certainly know that God’s hand was moving in the events surrounding Esther. The Epistle lesson once again came from James; in very pastoral words, he urged those who were hurting to pray and those who were joyous to sing. We did both at our service.
Our Hymn of Praise was the simple but moving “Near to the Heart of God.” Later came our Hymn of Joy, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling.” Joe was on hand to lead us in both. We’re using CDs now, so are limited to what we have available in that set. Our Closing Hymn is always the first verse of “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” which we know well enough to do a cappella.
We collected macaroni and cheese all last month and will collect peanut butter and jelly in October. I will take checks and the food stuffs collected to Community Christian Services next week. We had a letter from First Baptist in Joaquin about the yearly campaign to get Christmas gifts for area kids. Paxton Church always contributes as a church, and several members either write personal checks or “adopt” a child by purchasing shirt, pants, shoes, and a gift. First Baptist adds a Bible and underwear to each.
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