Paxton Methodist Weekly, May 8

May 9, 2022 - Sunday was the 4th Sunday of Easter. We have had a couple of good rains and some humid summertime weather. Not to mention some middle 90s—in early May! It is Saturday evening, and as I proofread my sermon again, I finally think it is ready to go. I will see tomorrow if I put anyone to sleep. Just joking! This Sunday in the Season of Easter is sometimes referred to as The Shepherd’s Sunday. We began this day with the 23rd Psalm as our Gathering Words.

We had a small Sunday School class and congregation, as some members were sick and others out of town. The Sunday School lesson was to encourage good stewardship: Much of our discussion focused on what tithing meant to the agricultural folks of ancient Israel/Judea and to us in the 21st Century. The text was Deuteronomy 14: 22-29. The purpose of the tithing system in the ancient society was to make sure no one would be disadvantaged permanently or consigned to second-class status. It recognized the reality of poverty and hoped to alleviate it. With the tithe, one conferred worth, dignity, and belonging on those who had been less fortunate. That is still true today.

Sue read the Gospel from John 37-30, with Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Scholars and temple folks wanted Jesus to state plainly if he thought he was the promised messiah—trying to trip him up as usual. Jesus didn’t feel as if he owed these people anything. He said look at what I do—healing and trying to lessen people’s pain. He told his questioners that they were too preoccupied to hear the call of the Good Shepherd.

Our songs were two favorites of our church—“When We All Get to Heaven” and “Hymn of Promise.” The first one is a lively, toe-tapping hymn, and the second is a heartfelt poem set to beautiful music. The affirmation was The Apostles’ Creed, probably the best-known ancient creed. During the merry month of May, our church folks will be collecting cans of fruit so we can take them to Community Christian Services at the end of the month. Later this month will be Joy and Gene’s anniversary. This past weekend they celebrated their twins’ 50th birthday. We all gave thanks for our mothers—and mother figures—for the impact they had on our lives.

In my sermon, I spoke a little about each Scripture on today’s traditional lectionary. From the Old Testament, we had the story of Dorcas, devout servant to her church, and Psalm 23 about the shepherd. In earlier times, shepherds such as David were steadfastly guarding sheep for the family and tribe; by the time of Jesus, however, the flocks and most everything else were owned by absentee landlords, leading to many shepherds doing only a “good enough” job. In Revelation and in the Gospel of John, we again find the shepherd motif: Like Psalm 23, the shepherd symbolizes care and trustworthiness.

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 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.