June 20, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother and our teacher, Jesus. Amen. June 21 is the official start of summer. I think word that summer is right around the corner leaked out because it has felt like summer for a couple of weeks already. Last year we didn’t experience any temperatures over 100, but so far this year my outside thermometer has recorded 106, 107, and 103 at different times. The thermometer is located on the back porch, which gets a few degrees warmer than it really is. But still it tells us it is hot. And we don’t need a heat index to tell us it’s humid!
Our Sunday School lesson focused on Galatians 5, showing how life becomes strained when we are not willing to follow God’s Spirit. St. Paul goes through quite an extensive list of things you shouldn’t do—but then says all the Law is fulfilled when we love our neighbor as ourselves. You can’t get any simpler than that, but it still baffles us humans. We liked the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.”
Last Sunday Paxton Methodist celebrated the idea of the Trinity by mostly ignoring it. Yes, I am a coward. I did expend some ink on the Council of Nicaea where the church fathers tried to explain the workings of the Triune God. If there are questions about this on the final exam, I am in real trouble.
Sunday was Father’s Day and I spent part of my sermon speaking of my own father. As is true of most people, I didn’t appreciate my dad as much as I should have. Sometimes we build up our fathers into something they can’t be...and then are disappointed when they’re not perfect. My dad wasn’t perfect, but he sure made plenty more right decisions than he did wrong ones. Thanks, Wayne Stanley.
One of the quotes my wife put in the bulletin was from country singer Keith Urban who said (or more accurately, sang, as it’s a lyric in one of his songs), “I only hope when I have my own family that every day I see a little more of my father in me.” On the front of the bulletin was a quote from Denzel Washington, who said, “The strongest, toughest men all have compassion. You have to be man enough to care about people and about your children.”
In the prayers of our church we continue to lift up children and innocent people who have been killed in senseless gun violence. The world is violent enough without this added burden. The poet of Psalm 96 reminds us that each day we awake, we need to sing a new song to God—a song of compassion and truth. The Gospel lesson wasn’t about a great dad but about the widow of Nain who was in the throes of grief and despair. That is a place were we all have been one time or another.
We began our music Sunday morning with “Amazing Grace.” Like most churches, this is one of our favorite hymns. We also sang “This Is My Father’s World,” celebrating Fathers’ Day. There is an accompanying version called “This Is My Mother’s World.” Our statement of faith was the 21st Century Affirmation: We leave the fourth century declaration, The Nicene Creed, until next year’s Trinity Sunday.
Tuesday, Liz and Mike celebrate their wedding anniversary, so we send our best wishes to them. We all hope Larry is enjoying the family get-together. All during June we are collecting paper towels and toilet paper for Community Christian Services. You can tell it’s nearing the end of the month, as our back pew is covered in paper products.
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.