January 10, 2017 - Last Friday, January 6th was the Day of the Epiphany. So Sunday Paxton Methodist celebrated the arrival of the Magi. Next Sunday we will celebrate the baptism of Jesus. The Gospel Lesson was Matthew 2: 1-12. The magi follow the star and bring gifts to the child. The Matthew Gospel doesn’t tell us how many magi there were or when they actually arrived at Bethlehem. Again we need to remember that Matthew is not really concerned with how something happened but was very interested in proclaiming the Good News.
January 2, 2017 - Sunday was the First Sunday after Christmas and, of course, New Year’s Day! Happy New Year! I hope that the New Year will bring you joy and fulfillment. On this Sunday the Psalter Lesson was Psalm 148. The Psalms are the Jewish people’s hymnbook (but we just recited—no singing). Hymn 148 is an exuberant song of praise sung by the entire universe. The Gospel Lesson has Joseph once again receiving a vision in a dream, in which he is told to take his family to safety as mad King Herod was on the loose. These two scriptures deal with the paradox of faith. We g
December 26, 2016 - Sunday was Christmas morning. Our Gospel lessons came from the two Gospel that have a miracle birth story. Over the centuries we have combined Matthew’s and Luke’s narratives to come up with the Christmas story that most are familiar with. But the accounts are different in many ways. The Matthew Gospel was probably written around 80 CE, in or around the Jewish homeland. It is the most “Jewish” of the four canonical Gospels because the audience was Jewish. The Luke Gospel was written later and probably by a Gentile convert.
December 19, 2016 - Sunday was the Fourth Sunday of Advent, bringing our Advent journey to an end. The four words of Advent are hope, peace, joy, and love. I agree with Paul when he says the greatest is love, and that is today’s theme. Christmas comes on a Sunday this year. At Paxton, we will have Christmas Morning Worship Service at 10:00. There will be no Sunday school. Only two of the four Gospels speak of Christmas morning. Christmas was not celebrated in the Christian Church until the 4th Century CE.
December 12, 2016 - Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent. Traditionally this Sunday has been known as Gaudete Sunday and the command is that we rejoice. This Sunday we used the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary as our Gathering Words. Mary, a young peasant girl around 13 or 14, speaks of her spirit rejoicing; her joyous words tell of good news where the powerful will be brought low and those that struggle will be exalted.
November 28, 2016 - Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. It was the beginning of a New Year in the ancient Christian Calendar. This will be the year of Matthew, and most of the Gospel Lessons this year will come from the Matthew Gospel. The Matthew Gospel is the second oldest of the Canonical Gospels and was written in a way that follows the Jewish year of festivals and celebrations. Matthew was another way to introduce Jesus as the Messiah. I am really looking forward to seeing Jesus and the Matthew Gospel with new eyes.
November 21, 2016 - Sunday was Christ the King Sunday or Reign of Christ Sunday. This final Sunday on the Christian calendar has been celebrated for over 1500 years. At one time this festival time was just that—festive—but today it’s more of just a remembrance. Next Sunday begins a new year and is the First Sunday in Advent. This New Year will be the Year of Matthew, so most of the Gospel Lessons will come from there. Regardless of what year the Gospel reading is, though, it’s always about Jesus dying on the cross on Christ the King Sunday.
November 14, 2016 - Sunday was Remembering Our Veterans Sunday at Paxton. Friday was a national holiday set aside to remember our veterans and all the sacrifices they endured when called upon by our nation’s leaders. As we memorialize those who have died and honor those still living, it is vital to remember how important it is that we as a nation only call upon our young men and women during true national emergencies. The Sunday before last was All Saints Sunday, and next Sunday is the last Sunday of this Christian year. Next Sunday is Christ the King Sunday.
November 7, 2016 - Sunday was All Saints Sunday. Since the fourth century November 1st has been a high holy day in the Christian faith set aside to remember the saints of our church and saints of our lives. It is certainly important to remember, and it is important to continue the ancient traditions of our faith. In days gone past the church paid a more central role in people’s lives, so celebrations during the week were not unusual. But today, for our convenience we have moved many of our most sacred celebrations of life to Sunday.
October 24, 2016 - Sunday was the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost. Last Sunday’s parable about the persistent widow is followed in the Luke Gospel by another short parable, which speaks of another “great reversal,” a common theme in both the Jewish and First Century Christian Testaments. In the story both a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the Temple . The Pharisee is sure that he is righteous and will be blessed by God. The tax collector is just as convinced that he is a sinner and deserves nothing from God.