New from Paxton UMC
Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. It is Friday morning, and I am starting on next week’s newsletter and newspaper article. Woke up this morning to rain, rain, rain! We certainly need the rain, so no complaints here. I tried to coax the puppies out this morning, but Gunter and Sam just looked at me like I was crazy. The only way they will voluntarily go out in the rain is if I take them for a walk and get wet too. I am debating this idea as I write.
Our long season of Ordinary Time comes to an end as we have several holy days coming up on the calendar. We Protestants celebrate Reformation Day, and of course November 1st is All Saints Day. I always think of All Saints Day as kicking off a new season—cooler temperatures, “fall back” out of Daylight Savings Time, Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas. I learned watching the news that the way the calendar falls this year we will have six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the reason why retailers are starting the Christmas Season before Halloween. I don’t really accept that explanation, though, as this silly season of buy-buy-buying seems to start earlier and earlier each year.
All Hallowed Saints Eve (Halloween) and All Saints Day were festival days in pre-Christian Europe. As the emerging Christian Church did everywhere, it took these days over and repurposed them to the new faith. I like Halloween and am not bothered by its pagan roots. If we threw out every Christian holy day that had some pagan features, we would have to throw out most if not all of our festival days.
All during October we have collected peanut butter & jelly for Community Christians Services. In November we will start collecting rice and beans. On Sunday, November 10th Paxton will have a Gideon Speaker. Paxton has long supported the work of the Gideons; several of our past members were Gideons. Last Sunday I handed out new church phone directories. When you are as small as Paxton Methodist, you can fit all the names on one page! So Sue took pictures of Paxton folks and our pretty church, an album that makes up most of the directory.
Last Thursday was our program at Lakeside Assisted Living. Hilda was lively on the piano. I emceed, telling stories between singing, including the parable for my sermon yesterday. Since I missed Nora’s singing last week, she graciously did an encore of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” one of my very favorite songs. Ollie spoke about miracles in her recent life, leading in to the Bible according to kids and a poem about hugs. Pastor Sarah’s devotional started with some of God’s smallest creatures, progressed through a tale about her dog Maple, and finished with Jonah running from God. Stellar discussed miracles in her life and then accompanied herself on guitar, singing “Peace in the Valley.” Her mom and Margie, by the way, were important parts of our group today. Fannie talked of the value of optimism in life, with some catchy slogans. Sue read a piece from the Texas Co-op Magazine called “Native Soil”: The author explains how his children were born outside Texas but with a bag full of good old Texas dirt under the delivery table.
We had a really good Sunday School lesson that focused on Romans 6: 1-14. Today was Reformation Sunday, and the book of Romans was very important to reformers like Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. The emphasis was on the need to live each day as best we can. The author reminds us that we cannot live a self-serving, self-centered life and at the same time live a God-serving, God-centered life. Paul also says that believers have already been raised to a new life in the present, a life that should be lived to and for God.
Before the sermon we had a short business meeting. We are quite informal at Paxton Methodist. The church voted to give $600 yearly to the work of the VFW. We have several members who are very active in the local VFW, doing so much good for our local veterans. Their programs to remember sacrifices made in the past also help educate all of us.
The Gospel for Sunday was from the Luke Gospel 18: 9-14, the parable about the tax collector and the Pharisee. Jesus picked the most despised person possible and contrasted him with the Pharisee, who was very virtuous and correct in his religious doing but lacking in the humility vital for living in God’s Kingdom. The tax collector was, by contrast, humble, knew his shortcomings, and prayed to do better in the future.
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, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and 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 me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.