September 14, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. It seems like just the other day Hurricane Laura was threatening the coast of Louisiana and the Gulf. Now we are watching Sally, hoping for the best for our neighbors to the south of us. I sure was disappointed that the promised “cold front” didn’t quite make it to our area. But the mornings have been pleasant, even though we are still in that summer weather pattern in Texas. Here we are, half way through September, with a start-stop-start school year and two weeks of high school football.
Paxton Methodist Church is still meeting each Sunday wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It is easier for us than many other churches because we are really small—but this last Sunday we had six extra people! We limit our music to piano and CD solos, hoping not to spread droplets of whatever! During the month of September we are collecting macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services. I delivered the August collection along with three checks, and it was really good to see friends giving others a helping hand.
In fine Methodist tradition, Paxton Methodist will have its yearly Charge Conference. We don’t have the technology to do Zoom so our District Superintendent is coming to Paxton on Saturday, November 21st. This will give us some time to get all the reports and evaluations completed, voted on, and sent to the District Office.
There was a short article before the Sunday School lesson about simplicity. Our author says we embrace simplicity by cleaning out all kinds of clutter. I know that our houses are full of stuff—some we treasure and some junk that is just that—junk! Our lesson scripture was from Romans, where Paul’s words are difficult. He speaks of us as enemies of God with a need to restore a relationship to the holy and divine. I agree with half of that: Despite my weak faith and questioning nature, I don’t see myself as an enemy of God. But Paul speaking about forgiveness and the reconciliation which comes after is something we can all embrace.
As we finished up Sunday School, we had several special folks come in for church. Lillie, Liz, and Mike were at the farm and joined us this morning. This was the first time in a long time that we got to see and visit with them. Lillie looked so good, after breaking her hip twice and doing the tough rehab. Mrs. Minnie also came this morning with her friend Hilda and even played piano for us. Minnie is a regular at our nursing home ministries, so we haven’t see her in a long time. Sue and Fred, Senior Center folks from Logansport, also joined us for worship. It was great to have all of them. We at Paxton Methodist are always excited when we are in “double digits.”
We have two birthdays this month. Our good friend Joe had a birthday Sunday, and we sure hope he is doing well and staying safe. Gene has a big birthday coming up this coming Sunday; family will join Gene and Joy for the celebration. We were saddened to hear of the death of our friend Carmelo Dominguez, the pastor whose congregation used to share our building. We have lost many dear people to this horrible pandemic.
My sermon dealt with the need not only to forgive, but to reconcile. Without reconciliation, repair of friendships is impossible. It does seem that we are way too often concerned with who is right and who is wrong and not on getting along. That requires respect and knowing that everyone deserves dignity—not to mention a touch of humility.
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.