News from Paxton Methodist - August 2, 2020

Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It was also the first Sunday in August—hard to believe it is already August. We have been lucky so far in that we have gotten adequate rainfall and have had no triple digit temperatures. I got up early this morning so I could water my gardens. It was 67 outside, and I actually felt chilly! I know it is not going to last, but the rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures have made summer more bearable.

Because it was the first Sunday of the month, we celebrated Communion. We are using the same liturgy that we always do, but when sharing the bread and juice we are staying at a social distance—and using prepackaged cups and wafers. We are small in number so that is not difficult. All of us are also wearing masks in the church building.

In August we will be collecting children’s underclothes and socks for Community Christian Services. Gayle and Joaquin Christian Services started this collection over 25 years ago, and Paxton Methodist is continuing the tradition. This collection always coincided with the beginning of school, the idea being that kids could start with new underwearAfter Undie Sundays were so successful, we chose different items to collect for Christian Services each month. We are not sure what school will look like this year, but we are praying for students, teachers, and staff.

Last month we collected cans of ravioli and spaghetti for CCS. I delivered the cans along with checks and donations from church members. It was great to see so many wonderful people volunteering and helping others, especially in this time of huge need. We had a request from one of Lillie’s granddaughters for a Paxton scholarship. She is studying to be a nurse, and the church voted to give her a scholarship. We sure do need good nurses, now more than ever!

We had a great Sunday School lesson about Zacchaeus. Most of us learned that song about Zacchaeus climbing thtree as children. Our author said that “Christ bids all to seize the ‘now’ of this moment in discovering the wonders of God’s love.” Ms Fannie said that God is still calling. The only question is if we are listening. I am always amazed how the Sunday School lesson and the Sunday sermon tie together.

My sermon continued with the idea of searching and being open to God moving among us in our daily living. Christian mystics have taught this for centuries, but most denominations and churches focus on creeds and dogmas. This includes my denomination—The United Methodist Church. One of the first mystical experiences in the Bible was when Jacob dreamed about the ladder joining heaven and earth and encountered angels as well as God. Later, as Jacob was heading home , he had a wrestling match with God and came away with a blessing. These mystical experiences should give us pause and encourage us to look for the Divine in the ordinariness of life.

I closed my sermon with some words from the late Congressman, John Lewis. He said, “Never hate, for hate is too great a burden to bear.” In an essay written shortly before his death, he said, “Walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” Amen to that!

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 paxtonumc@yahoo.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.