June 13, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother and our teacher, Jesus. Amen. Oh my goodness, it has turned H.O.T. in a hurry! If you didn’t know you lived in Texas, you are fixin’ to get an up-close and personal lesson. Our beautiful East Texas is still in a drought, and it doesn’t seem that we will get relief any time soon. I have a few vegetables in containers and raised beds, but they are suffering even though I water them every day. That old sun can be so brutal. A related but more hopeful tale: I was given a pumpkin at the end of last year and put it in the corner of the raised bed where I grow strawberries. The vines of that pumpkin not only have taken over the strawberry bed but also the raised beds next to it. I have a few plum trees and an apple tree that have fruit on them. My orange tree has three oranges growing. The tree has taken a hit from pesky bugs, but the small green oranges are hanging on. I also have a tree with a few limes on it.
Sue and I are going to see a couple of plays at the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore. We have gone every year for about 20 years until the pandemic hit. In 2020 the Festival was called off, and last year we just didn’t feel comfortable sitting in a crowded theater. But this year, we’re baaaack! We are going to see The Music Man, one of our favorites, and Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. I used the song, “Trouble in River City” from The Music Man as the theme of my sermon, in my cowardly stepping around the idea of the Trinity.
Sunday morning was Trinity Sunday. It is the one high holy day on the Christian calendar that doesn’t celebrate an event in the life of Jesus or the early church; instead, it celebrates a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church—The Triune God. I am not a brave person, so I pretty much ignored the idea of the Trinity and instead gave a short history lesson on the Council of Nicea: Its task, conferred by Emperor Constantine, was to formulate one way for Christians to understand God the Creator, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Council had little success, and the puzzling creed is still confusing today.
Our scripture for Sunday School was pretty deep. In 1 Corinthians 2: 10-16, we see the appearance of Lady Wisdom, who was also present our Gathering Words at the beginning of Worship. Wisdom was right there when God created the heavens and the earth. Paul tells the Corinthians that it is the Spirit that searches everything and everywhere, including the depth of God—and this Spirit is available to us. During Sunday School we joined in a lively debate on the pending split in the United Methodist Church. Some churches are leaving and forming the Global Methodist Church. Paxton Methodists are awaiting more information from the District and Conference.
The Gathering Words this morning were based on Proverbs 8, dealing with the call from Lady Wisdom. Our Affirmation of Faith was the statement that the Church fathers agreed to back in 325 CE, The Nicene Creed. In the Lutheran Church this creed is said almost every Sunday, but for Methodists, the usual affirmation is the Apostles’ Creed. We began our singing with “Holy, Holy, Holy,” very appropriate for Trinity Sunday. The second hymn was Fanny Crosby’s “To God Be the Glory,” which also speaks of the nature of God.
Our bulletin quotes were both chosen with an eye to the triune God. From Anne Lamott: “I didn’t need to understand the unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.” Vera Nazarian, another American writer, described it this way: “Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: acceptance, understanding, appreciation.”
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.