Paxton Methodist Weekly News, Sept. 25

September 26, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Our church service began with a Gathering Hymn today: “Morning Has Broken,” sung by Cat Stevens. This beautiful hymn is often used in the spring around Easter, but we enjoyed it just as much in the newly cooler fall. Our Gathering Words were based on Psalm 91, with the poet wondering who will live in the shadow of the Most High. The tormented picture on the front of the bulletin I assumed was Lazarus from the Gospel story, living in hunger and poverty. As I was going up front to preach, I realized it was Dives, the rich man in Shoal. Both men’s distress was needless—Lazarus because Dives could have helped him, and Dives because his riches only benefited himself.

To offset the agony expressed in the cover picture, we chose quotes from humorists. First, Groucho Marx said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” The inside statement was from James Thurber: “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” As my wife says, the affirmation was “the same old Apostles’ Creed,” which we answer by singing the Gloria Patri. The Gospel lesson was about a miserable Lazarus at the gate of the rich man’s house. The rich man had everything—but didn’t share; in death, he suffered while Lazarus was comforted. We sang “Softly and Tenderly” another beautiful hymn, had prayer, and then held a business meeting.

We approved a Budget for 2023, also okaying the Trustees and the Financial reports. I then gave the congregation an update on the church’s movements toward disaffiliation. If you can stream on your TV, on You Tube you can see story after story about the split in the Methodist Church. This week a nurse made a home visit for our insurance company’s annual assessment. In our back-and-forth conversation, I told her I was a Methodist minister and explained the troubles Methodists are currently having. She laughed and said, “You know, you Methodists aren’t as good at fussing and arguing as the Baptists.” Sorry, Baptists, but I think she is right!

The business meeting went so long we decided to meet Thursday at 4:00 to continue our path of discernment. Sue is bringing Subway sandwiches, chips, cookies, and bottled water since 4:00 is almost dinner time for us “more mature” folks. I sure want to thank Larry for his calm counsel during this period. Our church is lucky to have such a rational, reasonable advisor in our group.

We had a really good Sunday School class. All of us were on time, present, and accounted for. We often get off topic, but the words from our text, Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 said, “Look here. Today I’ve set before you life and what’s good, versus death and what’s wrong.” It goes on to say that the best way to understand begins with obedience to God. We are told that after forty years of walking, Moses felt that he saw clearly the best path forward. Maybe Moses can make an appearance at Paxton on Thursday!

Today was the last Sunday of the month, so we gathered up the mac-n-cheese brought in September for Community Christian Services. I’ll deliver it this week. In October, we’re collecting peanut butter and jelly for CCS. When we first chose different monthly items at Joaquin Methodist, October was peanut butter month. A member of the congregation objected, saying you couldn’t have the PB without the J. So we adjusted—PB and J it is. CCS Christmas for Kids is also approaching; Gene had our church’s check ready for them, and Joy brought one from the VFW Auxiliary. We’ll deliver those tomorrow.

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.