News from Paxton United Methodist Church
Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel lesson moves from John back to Matthew. The Matthew and John Gospels are so very different—written at two very different times to two very different peoples. My sermon began with a new covenant that the prophet Jeremiah said would not be written in stone or on parchment or a scroll. Instead, God would write this new covenant directly on the human heart and mind. In Jeremiah 31: 31-33, we see that God forgives and goes even further. With the covenant written in our souls, God says that he will no longer see our sins. This sounds so strange to us. In today’s Gospel lesson, much is happening: John the Baptizer has been arrested, Jesus has moved to Capernaum, and he calls Andrew, Peter, James, and John to follow him. In my sermon I tried to speak to the meaning of discipleship for these four and also for us, thousands of years later.
The first month of the New Year is about up. We have been collecting cans of tuna for Community Christian Services in January; in February we will collect soap and shampoo. Ms. Lillie has a birthday today, and we hope it is a nice day for her. Part of being a Methodist is the connection between us here and Methodists worldwide. Each year we pledge to pay our share of our district and conference expenses. This allows us the opportunity to be part of all the wonderful outreaches of our worldwide church. We support hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, research facilities, and in general bring the good news to everyone.
Our Sunday School lesson was the last in a series about covenants. The scripture was from Jeremiah 31-37, where God says that he will make a new covenant and place it on the hearts and minds of people. We Christians believe that Jesus embodies this covenant, living out the reality of loving God and neighbor—the heart of the law and the covenant.
Because of the way January’s dates fell, two of our programs were last week—on Tuesday, Holiday Nursing Center, and on Thursday, Lakeside Assisted Living. Due to weather and/or illness, some of our regulars were unable to attend, but those who were there brought a good program. I emceed both, sharing anecdotes at we went along. One was from a Jay Leno “Man on the Street” interview testing Biblical knowledge; a woman, when asked what Biblical character was swallowed by a big fish, replied confidently, “Pinnochio.” Our pianists took turns—Minnie at Holiday and Hilda at Lakeside—we feel lucky to have such talent among us. Pastor Sarah talked of furnishing her new house and making changes, including those that come with being a Christian; later, she continued the theme of change, pointing out that, although scripture doesn’t change, we see it with new eyes as we mature. Sue read Yertle the Turtle at Holiday, Rosie Revere Engineer and “Purple Pox” at Lakeside. Nora shared “Dance at Grandpa’s,” a picture book from The Little House in the Big Woods and also sang “How Great Is Our God.” Fannie spoke about some of the community projects her classes had done and then read Helen Steiner Rice’s “In Times Like These.” Jo and Margie joined in to help with the greeting and singing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.