March 27, 2017 - Sunday was the Fourth Sunday in Lent. We are more than halfway through Lent’s forty days. The Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day just blew on by. On Sunday, April 16th the western half of the Christian world will celebrate Easter. Paxton Methodist and the Watson family invite everyone to the Watson home for Easter Sunrise Service. The service will begin at 7:00 AM; following the service, breakfast will be served. One of Dock’s cousins, Ron Hilton, will bring the Easter message. The Watson family is busy putting together another great Easter program.
March 21, 2017 - Sunday was the Third Sunday in Lent. It was a foggy morning as I headed to the metropolitan area known as Paxton. We had a wonderful Sunday school class: Fannie had us thinking. The title of the lesson was “God’s Love Manifested.” The scripture was John 15:1-17, in which Jesus says that he is the vine and God is the vineyard keeper. We are the many branches that must produce fruit. He reminds his disciples that they are his friends, and he urges them to love as he loved them. This is Jesus’ commandment.
March 14, 2017 - Sunday was the Second Sunday in Lent. Every Sunday in Lent was seen by ancient Christians as a “little Easter.” The Old Testament Lesson was the story of Abraham and Sarah receiving the call from God. We are told that without question or hesitation that Abraham and Sarah pull up stakes and follow God. In Old Testament imagery moving toward God is described as going to the “Promised Land.” In our New Testament Lesson we see Nicodemus meet Jesus under the cover of darkness. Our story tells us that Nicodemus is intrigued by this small town rabbi, but Nicodemus i
February 28, 2017 - Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday. In the ancient church and in many denominations today, Transfiguration Sunday is one of the most important holy days in the Christian faith. In the ancient world, the earth was flat and above the sky was the realm of God (or gods). So when Moses was called by God to receive the Torah, he was called to the mountain. Moses was enveloped in a cloud, and the people saw what appeared to be a raging fire on the mountain.
February 20, 2017 - Sunday was the 7th Sunday of the Epiphany, a season which is very long this year because Easter is so late. The Old Testament Lesson from Leviticus and the Gospel Lesson are tied by a command. In Leviticus 19:2 we are told to be holy because God is holy. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says we are to be perfect because God is perfect. Holiness and Christian Perfection strike at the heart of Methodism and Wesleyan theology. In Wesleyan thought there is no holding steady—either one is moving toward Christian perfection or one is moving away from God.
February 6, 2017 - Sunday was the 5th Sunday of the Epiphany. The Gospel Lesson continues with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We find a similar story only in the Luke Gospel in Luke’s Sermon on the Plains. Matthew’s telling of the story is more difficult and much more Jewish. In Matthew’s telling Jesus has a problem with the Temple and those that serve the Temple. In today’s lesson, Jesus tells those listening that they are the salt of the earth and the light that will bring brightness into the world.
February 1, 2017 - Last week we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. This Sunday, the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany, Jesus has called his disciples. In our Gospel lesson from Matthew, Jesus begins to describe the people of the Kingdom. His “Sermon on the Mount” is Jesus’ manifesto to kingdom living. There is a similar story in Luke called the “Sermon on the Plains.” Matthew’s telling is more difficult to understand because it is so Jewish. Jesus, like the Prophet Micah and John the Baptizer, has a problem with the Temple and those who run it.
January 23, 2017 - Last week we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to become his first disciples. John the Baptizer is in prison; Jesus picks up the mantle, calling upon people to prepare for the coming Kingdom of Heaven. The radical call and the radical response by the four fishermen served as the Gospel for this Sunday. The response by the four was radical in that they immediately answered the call. They walked away from the way they made a living.
January 17, 2017 - Last week we celebrated the Epiphany, which put off to this Sunday the scriptures about the baptism of Jesus. All four of the canonical gospels have a baptism story, so we know how important this event is. Jesus comes to the Jordan, where John is urging people to be baptized and transformed. Jesus is baptized, which marks the beginning of his ministry.