Happenings at Paxton Methodist Church
News from Paxton Methodist
Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. On the Christian calendar, Sunday was the first Sunday in Lent. Each Sunday during the Lenten Season is to be seen as a “little Easter.” A great portion of the Gospels is spent on the weeks leading up to Good Friday and Easter. Traditionally, Lent is a time for reflection, perhaps a period to give something up or to add something, like more time spent in prayer. I used to give something up, but this year I didn’t even consider it—maybe I am not as religious as I once was. Maybe I will give up liver!
Monday is Texas Independence Day and my mother’s birthday. My English teacher wife always reminds me it is also Dr. Seuss's birthday. We had a reprieve from all the rain we have had so far in 2020. Yes, the rain we wish we would have in July and August. In the dog days of summer, we will bemoan the fact that we are facing a drought and it is so hot! One morning this week it was 26 degrees on my back porch. My dogs don’t seem to care and don’t give me a break as they follow me around the house, pestering me until I start getting all of us ready for a walk.
Sunday was the first Sunday in March, so the Paxton Church celebrated Holy Communion. During the month of March we are collecting cans of chili for Community Christian Services. I delivered February’s soap and shampoo and two checks from church folks to CCS last Monday. The volunteers at CCS and Haslam Baptist Church do such a great job getting food to those who have a need.
I had a hard time this week dealing with the Lenten theme of temptation. The Gospel lesson was about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness after his baptism. I chose to write my sermon on the first temptation spoken of in the Jewish book of Genesis. In the first few chapters of Genesis we have two creation stories. To hear the slight differences, one needs to read the beginning of Genesis, keeping in mind the two versions. Neither story is to be seen as historical but as a spiritual telling of creation and the separation experienced between creator and created.
Both our Sunday School lesson and the Old Testament lesson for the First Sunday in Lent deal with the Jewish story of creation, often referred to as the “fall of man.” It always takes the class a little while to get used to the new writer and the new focus. Our lesson centered on Genesis 3: 1-24 and really reinforced the idea that the one unchanging thing over the centuries is human nature. The creation story reminds us that there is a constant push and pull between what is right and good and what isn’t. It also reminds us as we read and reread the first part of Genesis that we were created to dream, to aspire and to imagine.
The Old Testament lesson for Sunday was Genesis 2: 15-17. In this part of the Jewish creation story, God takes the humans into the Garden of Eden—Paradise—the Kingdom of God. In my sermon I compared the “fall” to when in the human family, children grow up, rebel, and move out of the comforts of home. God is often seen as a loving parent who, like all loving parents, wants what is best for the children.
Last week was our program at Lakeside Assisted Living. Although Hilda was in attendance, her friend Minnie played piano for us, freeing Hilda to enjoy singing. Also with us were our faithful regulars, Margie and Jo. As emcee, I talked a little about Ash Wednesday and the Creation story. Nora and Jo had to leave early for a meeting at their church, but Nora was able to share “(Oh, Where Have You Been) Billy Boy” and the haunting “Bless the Lord, O My Soul.” Fannie talked about the blackbirds filling her yard and then read a series of nonsense questions; for example, why does the sun bleach our hair but tan our skin? Ollie read a touching piece titled “Grandpa’s Hands.” Sue multitasked The Awful Aardvarks Go to School, an alphabet book, reading while illustrating with the American Sign Language alphabet.
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.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is email@example.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.