August 7, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus. When Gunter, Sam, and I went to the park for our walk Saturday, I saw many wet spots and felt the unfamiliar dampness of the grass. I think it must’ve rained just a little bit. I kept hoping we would get some real rain, but no luck. At least we’ve lost the triple digits: You know it is really hot when the temperature not quite reaching a hundred seems like a good thing. I imagine we still have a month or a month-and-a-half of super hot weather.
Monday, the kids of Joaquin ISD and Timpson ISD head back to school; other Shelby County schools will open soon, and Logansport is already at it. We at Paxton Methodist wish all the kids and school staffs a productive, safe school year. I can’t imagine what football practice is like in this heat—I saw on the news that one Shreveport team is practicing in the dark of morning. Good idea….but yawn!
All last month, Paxton Methodist has been collecting spaghetti and ravioli for Community Christian Services. I had a couple of checks and a back seat full of cans when I delivered to CCS. It is always a rewarding trip, not only to take the donated cans and checks, but also to see all the volunteers helping their neighbors. During the month of August we will be collecting children’s underwear and socks since August is the beginning of a new school year. School clothes and school supplies are in demand as the need is great.
Sunday School focused on God’s desire for “Shalom” (his peace). Gene read today’s scripture from 1 Chronicles 22: 6-10, 17-19, where we see God telling David that he had too much blood on his hands to build a temple to the Lord. Our author points out that some people think violence is the only way to achieve certain goals—even peace! He goes on to point out that although Yahweh is the most common name used for the God of Israel, throughout scripture other titles are also used, such as the One who heals, delivers, provides, and is ever-present among his people.
Our worship service always begins with Gathering Words, usually based on that Sunday’s Psalter Lesson. This week, the Affirmation of Faith was The Apostles’ Creed. The Gospel lesson was Luke 12: 32-40, with Jesus telling his followers not to let fear defeat them. One bulletin quote came from Katia Krafft, a volcanologist, who said (fittingly, considering her occupation), “Curiosity is stronger than fear.” Soren Kierkegaard, Danish theologian and philosopher, provided the other quote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Both our hymns were favorites, heartening and comforting: “Softly and Tenderly” and “Open My Eyes, That I May See.”
In my sermon, I continued the lesson about fear. People should remember that it is God’s pleasure to have us all live in his kingdom—now and for eternity. Jesus also urges us to be always vigilant and ready to experience God’s in-breaking into our everyday living. Fear in and of itself isn’t a bad thing; however, when we allow panic to overtake our better judgment, it becomes destructive. And yes, there are events that cause alarm. I used as examples three incidents that happened in our world just in the last week. We might want to bury our heads in the sand like the legendary ostrich, but we can’t allow fear to overwhelm us.
This being the first Sunday of August, we celebrated the Service of Communion and Remembrance. We used a communion liturgy that begins with a quote from the Medieval mystic, Teresa of Avila. Like our earlier hymn, “Open My Eyes,” she reminds us that we are Jesus’ eyes, ears, feet, and hands. It is our joyful duty to carry out his work in our present-day world.
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.