Happenings at Paxton Methodist Church

      Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen.  Fall has come but you really can’t tell yet.  I am so ready for some cooler weather, but summer just refuses to let go her grip.  Sue and I went to Monroe last Monday to visit Sue’s Uncle Eddie.  We had a really good visit; Eddie seems to be doing quite well, although older like the rest of us.  Sue’s car is in the shop, meaning we were down to just one vehicle—so I missed Sunday School this morning.  We had a nice “crowd” for church (double digits).  We held a business meeting to approve all the reports and a new budget for 2020.  Our Charge Conference with Dr. White is next Saturday at 2:00, which is also Tenaha’s homecoming.  We have been collecting macaroni and cheese this month for Community Christian Services, and in October,  peanut butter and jelly.

          Sue read the Gospel lesson for Sunday from Luke 16: 19-31 about Lazarus and the rich man.  On earth, the rich man had everything while Lazarus suffered.  But when the two men died and went to Shoal, the tables had turned.  As our affirmation of faith, we recited the ecumenical version of the Apostles’ Creed.  In this version, after Jesus’ death on the cross, he descended into hell.  I remember as a youngster reading this with the congregation at Trinity Lutheran and giggling that we got to say a “bad word” during worship.  When I was at Millsaps College, our professor had our class read this creed aloud and asked us why Jesus went to the land of the dead.  After a few feeble attempts on our part at providing an answer, the professor said, “To proclaim the Good News, of course.”  I guess that is what Paul means when he says that not even death can separate us from the love of Christ. 

          In the Old Testament lesson, Jeremiah is instructed to buy some real estate in what had once been Judah.  That purchase for the future seemed to say that God had not given up on Judah and Israel, that hope was still alive even if it was on life support.  Paul, in the first letter to Timothy, urges Timothy to take hold of the life that has been given and truly—really—live!   Larry McNeil gave me the March 16, 1959, edition of Time magazine that had the great theologian Paul Tillich on the cover.  The article tried to explain some of Tillich’s very complicated theology.  I am going to have to re-read the article again (and again) and then find my copy of The Courage To Be, but I did endeavor to explain some of Tillich’s ideas in my sermon.

          Because of our Monroe trip, I didn’t write an article last week.  But in both weeks, we had a nursing home program, with the help of our friends as usual.  For both Holiday and Lakeside, I emceed, with scripture and anecdotes, and Minnie played piano.  Nora sang “The Savior Was Waiting,” “Peace like a River,” and “To God Be the Glory.”  Stellar accompanied herself on guitar with “One Day at a Time” and what she called a “parlor song” about the end of a perfect day.  Gene sang “Blessed Assurance.”  Pastor Sarah discussed loss, using her own misplaced ring and the parables of the lost coin and sheep.  Sue read Amigos: Among Friends, “Stomach Ache Supreme,” and Cornfield Hide and Seek.  We are so grateful for those who come to help bolster the singing and the friendly atmosphere: Hilda, Margie, Maggie, Jo, Peaches, and Stellar’s mom were all on hand.

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 paxtonumc@yahoo.com. 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.