May 23, 2022 - Sunday was the 6th Sunday of Easter. As promised by all the local channels, our part of the world got a nice rain last night. We had almost 2 inches in downtown Joaquin. Sunday morning also saw some cooler temperatures. All the plants in my little gardens and containers appreciate rain, and I appreciate not having to water. It is usually much later in the summer when I have to start watering every day.
Our Sunday School continued with the author’s theme about creation and the need to care for it. We humans may think we are the only important part of creation, but God cares for it all. We have a duty not just to each other and to future generations, but to God. There were two scriptures for our lesson: Joel 2: 18-26 and Romans 8: 19-22. Our author reminded us that we live with misconceptions of the truth. In the reading from Romans, Paul alerts us to the reality that humanity and nature exist in an interconnected relationship with each other. Paul’s words shatter the myth that we humans can act in whatever manner we please when it comes to the environment. The destiny of the earth is also part of our faith.
We had a small group at worship this morning—not that we ever have a large group! I guess it’s all relative. Our Gathering Words were based on Psalm 67, a hymn of praise that has a universal feel to it. We affirmed our faith by saying The Apostles’ Creed. For Christian churches that include affirmations in their worship services, this is the best known one. The bulletin quote from Andrew Murray mirrored the idea of stewardship from the Sunday School lesson: “The world asks, ‘What does a man own?’ Christ asks, ‘How does he use it?’” We can also see how this quote reflects our Christian duty to share compassion to all people, another theme from my sermon today. Our two songs were familiar and joyful ones: “To God Be the Glory” and “Wonderful Words of Life.”
The Gospel lesson today again came from John; John 14: 23-31 is part of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. The passages making up Jesus’ final words to the disciples are the longest speech by Jesus in the entire New Testament. Jesus promises that God’s Spirit will always be with the disciples (and with us). We used a more modern translation for the Gospel reading that refers to the Holy Spirit as The Companion. We are never really alone. The Companion will accompany us on our life’s journey. Jesus’ final gift to his disciples is peace—shalom. The use of “shalom” indicates more than just peace, meaning fullness and wholeness. Easter Season is about to end: In a few weeks we will celebrate the ascension of Jesus and the birth of the Jesus Movement on Pentecost.
During the announcement part of our service, I shared that I called our dear friend Hilda. I also talked to Mike, who said he, Lillie, and Liz were all doing well. I know that Lillie is happily rooting for the Astros. She is having a lot more fun than I am—as a long-time Cubs fan. Gene gave an update on a CD the church recently took out. May is getting closer to the end. All month we have been collecting cans of fruit for Community Christian Services. In June we will start collecting paper towels and toilet paper.
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.