News from Paxton Methodist: November 15, 2020

 

Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next Sunday is the last Sunday on the Christian calendar: Christ the King Sunday. To refer to someone in olden times as a king was to show honor and respect. We Americans fought a war for independence from a king, so we see honor and respect in people governing themselves. If it were up to me I would call Sunday Christ Our Savior and Friend Sunday, but that’s just me.

This coming Saturday at 2:00 is Paxton Methodist’s Charge Conference. Our District Superintendent has to make the long trip here because Paxton Methodist hasn’t figured out Zoom yet—and doesn’t have wi fi anyway. Most churches are having Zoom yearly conferences, but we still have “that old-time religion!”

Paxton Methodist Church is meeting each Sunday for in-person worship wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Our music is only on piano and CD—no singing to spread germs. Our first song this morning was “America the Beautiful,” sung by an Army quartet for Ronald Reagan’s funeral. The second was “Joy to the World,” my favorite Christmas hymn. It is never too early to sing Christmas songs. When we used to go to the nursing homes (pre-pandemic), we would often sing a Christmas carol or two even in the summer.

All this month we are collecting beans and rice for Community Christian Services. After the Charge Conference, I will need to get busy completing End of the Year reports for the Conference. We Methodists do like our paperwork! I remember when I was still teaching, the legislature passed a Reduction in Paperwork Act which was to drastically cut down on reports teachers, administrators, and school districts had to fill out for the state. Well, needless to say, that didn’t work out—seemed like we had more instead of less!

The Sunday School lesson today was “Worship as the Church.” We felt the purpose statement for the lesson was trying to say too much: “We are to celebrate worship as entering God’s presence and also as reconciliation and fellowship with the family of faith.” The author spoke of the church as a place where problems have always existed. We certainly agreed with that because the common denominator of the church then and the church today is us—fallible humans who are prone to mistakes. I think we all agreed that the parts we liked best were the labels he attached to two groups of people. Those who don’t have any religious affiliation he called “nones.” Those who were part of a church but have dropped out he called “dones.” Good descriptions!

My sermon scripture was Sunday’s Gospel lesson—Matthew 25: 14-30. All this year, most of the Gospel lessons have come from Matthew. Next year will feature another of the Gospel writers. In Sunday’s Gospel story, Jesus tells the parable about the three servants and the money the landowner gives to each. Two of the servants invest the money wisely and make money for the boss. The third, being conservative, buries it. When the boss returns, he is not pleased with the effort the third servant made while he was gone.

Since Jesus saw money and wealth as major evils in our world, I have never cared all that much for this particular parable. It didn’t make my top ten parables. But there is no doubt that we all must find ways to use our time and yes, money to build up God’s Kingdom right here on earth. As Ben Franklin said, time is money. We need to not only save, but spend, both in following Jesus’ path.

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.