January 3, 2022 - Happy New Year! I stayed up until around 11:00 New Year’s Eve and just pretended it was an hour later. I am writing the first part of this article on Saturday evening and kept checking the outdoors for that cold front. My daughter in Dallas said it was windy, cold, and rainy this evening so I guess it is coming our way. We have had such a weird winter so far with temperatures hitting heat records several days for December. With a new year and a new month, we at Paxton are going to collect cans of tuna for Community Christian Services. Sunday morning we will load up my truck with soup. I plan to deliver cans of soup and a couple of checks to CCS on Wednesday.
Sunday morning it was definitely winter! When I went outside I could hear ice pellets and sleet falling on the metal roof of my back porch; on the way to church, snow was swirling in the air, and tiny ice balls littered the front steps. Sam and Gunter were not interested in going outside early this morning, but by 8:30 they were ready to venture out with Sue. (My wife is the dog walker on Sunday mornings while I get ready for church.) I got communion bread and juice ready for the morning services, and when I took everything out to the truck, I started the heater. I know Ms. Fannie will have the heat going at Paxton Methodist.
Our Sunday School lesson came from the Jewish hymn book—the Psalms. Gene read Psalm 19: 1-6, and once again Fannie had a very meaningful lesson. Fannie usually asks what was something we, the students, got out of the lesson. I liked that this psalm said we are to affirm God as creator and sustainer of everything—but also said there are no speeches, words, or voices that can adequately describe God’s holiness.
Sue and I appreciate the church giving us last weekend off so we could celebrate Christmas with our Dallas and Denton folks. It was a small group that gathered last Sunday, but they got to hear Larry McNeill’s remembrances of Christmases past. He emailed the text to me, which I also appreciate: My wife says the only bad thing about getting family time off from church is that we miss one of Larry’s excellent talks.
Today is the first Sunday after Christmas, when the Luke gospel gives us our only look at the preteen Jesus. The Gospels don’t share much about Jesus’ upbringing, so we must use our imaginations and our knowledge of how folks lived back then. Our reading from Luke begins with the Holy Family getting ready for their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Much of Nazareth would shut its doors, close up, and go as a group—an extended family—for a two-week adventure. But later Mary and Joseph have a “Home Alone” moment and must return to the capital looking for their lost boy.
Our two CD song selections were “Open My Eyes” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” which were in the Methodist Hymnal and the Cokesbury songbook. We used the Service of Communion and Remembrance that begins on page 12 of the Methodist Hymnal. The quote in this Sunday’s bulletin was once again found in the comic strip Mutts. The last frame of the comic had another Meister Eckhart quote: “And suddenly you know; It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Have a good 2022!
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.