News from Paxton Methodist - October 4, 2020

Randy & Sue Smith/Paxton United Methodist Church

October 4, 2020

News from Paxton Methodist

Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was World Communion Sunday. Christians from all around the world joined together in a Service of Communion and Remembrance. Paxton Methodist participated in this worldwide Christian event but with safety precautions in place. We are all masked, and I use hand sanitizer before offering Communion. Everyone stays seated while I bring each person a small Ziploc bag containing a sealed juice and a wafer; then I make another turn around to retrieve the packaging.

Paxton Methodist Church is meeting each Sunday wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Our music is just on piano and CD—no singing to spread germs. This week we enjoyed a modern version of “Ode to Joy” by Julio Iglesias. And, by the way, remember to get your flu shot this year! Especially with Covid still very much in our lives, you need to stay healthy every way you can.

We have started the new month of October, now seven or eight months into this pandemic. Over two hundred thousand Americans have died from Covid 19. Our prayers go out to the President and First Lady and all who are or suffering or recuperating from this terrible disease. There are so many in our Shelby County area that have been sickened; some have died, leaving families grieving and heartbroken. Scientists and doctors agree that wearing masks and practicing social distancing could save tens of thousands of lives between now and the end of 2020. So wear a mask—it’s common sense and common decency.

In the month of October we will be collecting peanut butter and jelly. I delivered September’s macaroni and cheese, along with some checks from Paxton Methodist to Community Christian Services. I see so many friends and fellow educators volunteering when I go to CCS that my heart is warmed. CCS is having a huge food giveaway shortly: On Wednesday, October 7, from 9-11AM, they will have 1,000 boxes of produce, milk, and meat. There are no restrictions on income or age, no information from participants required, and Logansport folks are welcome.

The First Baptist Church of Joaquin has already started organizing the CCS Christmas gifts and clothing for children in need. With this terrible pandemic, the need will be greater than ever. Paxton Methodist supports their efforts financially, as a church and also individually. Sue and I adopt a student from the Angel Tree, buying clothes and gifts. Sue helps on giveaway day, translating between Spanish and English, working with Paula at the City Office when the Spanish gets too complicated for her.

Our new unit in Sunday School is called Our Mysterious but Approachable God. Gene read our scripture from Exodus 24: 1-12, which speaks of Moses, Aaron, and others who worshiped at the holy mountain. Here, Moses is given the commandments and a covenant is put in place between Moses’ people and God. But the main focus of the lesson was learning to forgive ourselves when we fall short of what we should be doing in our living and in our faith. I especially liked when the Sunday School author said, “The path toward ethical behavior is a teachable heart that recognizes the power and love of God.”

My sermon preparation this week was again influenced by the course I am taking called Early Christianity; From the Disciples to the Reformation. I have read and listened to 23 lectures so far. I had medical tests in Nacogdoches this week and listened to lectures all the way there. When I got to the hospital, I looked through the glove compartment for some note paper but only found a used envelope. I had to put on a surgical mask and I fill out a pile of medical forms. After that was sitting and waiting and waiting! On that envelope, I wrote down all kinds of notes of things I could remember from the lectures that I wanted to preach on.

Once again my focus this week was what those earliest Jesus followers were feeling after Good Friday. How did they cope with great loss and then the confusion and joy of Easter Sunday? What did they feel was true and/or important? The Gospel lesson, Matthew 21: 33-46, was the allegory about the landowner and those wicked tenants who killed the landowner’s servantwhen they attempted to collect the rent. When the just and fair landowner sent his own son, they killed him also. Of course, in an allegory each character stands for someone else—for example, the landowner is God, and his son is Jesus.

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.