May 17, 2022 - Sunday was the 5th Sunday of Easter. We finally got some much-needed rain, but that was followed by heat, humidity, and winds. The old earth is parched again in Shelby County. I am watering my container plants every day. I have become a small-time gardener with mostly raised beds planted in perennials. The first blooms from my roses were really pretty; now the gardenias and cape jasmine are flowering, looking and smelling wonderful.
Saturday, Sue’s brother and sister-in-law drove up from Houston to visit with their mom. We met at a Nacogdoches restaurant along with Sue’s sister’s family. It was a really nice little reunion and Dixie was happy to have her family gathered around.
We had everybody back at Sunday School this week, and the lesson for May 15 was particularly interesting. The title was “In Awesome Wonder,” about God’s beautiful creation. You would think the main scripture would come from Genesis, the Hebrew creation story. But no, it came from the end of the book of Job: As he created the whole wide world, God was wondering where Job was. Job of course had no good answer, and God really didn’t have a response to why suffering happens to good people. We humans sometimes think creation is all about us. It isn’t. We are quite entitled and think we deserve explanations for all our “why” questions. But God has concern for every part of his creation.
John Wesley often spoke of the essentials of Christianity. When reading the history of the Methodist Movement, you soon see that Wesley had just a handful of requirements. He would say “Hear, Hear” to our Gospel lesson today. The Final Discourse is found only in the John Gospel, occurring on Thursday evening of Holy Week. Jesus has a pretty good idea of what is ahead. He is preparing his closest friends for a time they will take the Good News to people without him. He tells them everything begins with love—compassion. When that is your starting point and where your spiritual compass points, then you are on the right track. Jesus said that is how people will know that they are his followers—the great compassion they have for everyone. Even today, we should take a lesson from that.
All the regulars were back this morning, putting us in double digits. Our Gathering Words were based on Psalm 148: As one reads through this beautiful hymn, we see where St. Francis got his inspiration. We recited the ancient creed of faith, The Apostles’ Creed. Our first song was “Marching to Zion.” We listened to one verse to get the rhythm and then sang two. Next was “Standing on the Promises,” a more familiar hymn to our congregation.
During May we have been collecting cans of fruit for Community Christian Services. Schools in Joaquin finish up this Friday, with most schools going through the next week. I know the teachers and of course the students are looking forward to the break. Ah yes, I remember it well!
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 email@example.com. 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.