April 4, 2020

Scripture: Gen. 1:1-31 - In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. ...

I've noticed that when I try to roll up my sleeves and start to do something, a dozen other tasks seem to bark out at me like neglected puppies - "Do me instead!" But to do anything, you have to take a first step. That step has a direction and distance, and taking it rules out a huge number of possible destinations. Then you take another step, and another, and keep on going. And after a little while, something is accomplished. It could be everyday -- the dishes are now clean. It could be personally momentous -- you completed a college degree. Or it could be great -- you have taught many people to play the piano.

Let's think about this in terms of art. An artist creates (or fails to create) beauty by making a series of choices. There is a quote of somewhat unclear origin that surfaced in 1879:

“That Venus” said a critic severely, “is a pretty poor piece of work.” “It is very easy for you to say so,” says a friend of the artist; “still a man has got to have some acquaintance with art before he can sculp a statue like that.” “Oh, bosh, as Mr. Ruskin says. Sculpture, per se, is the simplest thing in the world. All you have to do is to take a big chunk of marble and a hammer and chisel, make up your mind what you are about to create and chip off all the marble you don’t want.”—Paris Gaulois.*
We can say similar things about painting, photography, drawing, poetry, many kinds of music, mathematical patterns (Mandelbrot set shown), and architecture. Have you ever heard an orchestra while the musicians are just finishing putting their instruments together? That cacophany is what you get when nobody is making these choices.

Now consider God as Artist / Creator. Our Lord chose to create people - us - creatures with free will to create in their own right, to work for good or for destruction. And in doing so, God was severely constrained. Now try to imagine how a more beautiful creation could be possible! And be thankful...

Spiritual practice:
God does not close a door without opening another. Right now many of us are living under stay-at-home restrictions. Others are at work, but more limited in what they can do. Many things are not possible. However, it's interesting that suddenly many things that were impossible are now possible. We have the time and the focus to do these things. Make a special effort to thank God for these new possibilities, and to take a new first step today.

*1879 July 10, The Index: A Weekly Paper Devoted to Free Religion, Volume 10, The Simplest Thing in the World, (Short item), Quote Page 333, Column 2, (The spelling “sculp” appears in the original text) Published by the Index Association, Boston, Massachusetts.

-- Mike Furnish, Certified Lay Minister
Join Us this Palm Sunday, April 5 For Worship Live-Streamed From the Sanctuary! St. John’s will live-stream a worship service from the sanctuary this Sunday at 11:00 am, and we hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastors Pam and Kelly will lead, along with Shea Perry, Jim Ahrend, and Matt Greer). Live-stream link is HERE and will also be available on the homepage of the website.

A printed worship order will be emailed Sunday morning to the eDisciple list.

We hope that you’ll participate by singing and praying at home! Any questions? Email Matt at matt@stjohns-abq.org.
Online Classes
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!

Mondays, starting April 6, 2020, join Jack Nuzum online with a Zoom Bible study of the book of James. Two sessions per Monday, one at 10:00 am and one at 7:00 pm. If you aren't already on the Bible study list, contact Jack at jcnuzum@juno.com or 265-5241. Zoom is easy to use and James is full of great topics.

Wednesday, April 8 at 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE. Wednesdays at 1:30 pm.

Thursday, April 9 at 1:30 pm
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. Space is limited, and the Zoom link will be provided to the first 15 people to sign up! Sign-up is HERE. Thursdays at 1:30 pm.
As part of our outreach during this unsettling time, the Music Ministry has launched “Music From St. John’s,” a series of video performances by local musicians. This is an effort to continue to provide beautiful music to our congregation and community, and also to provide work to local musicians who have been severely affected by cancelations. New videos will appear daily for the foreseeable future, and they are being created by Shea Perry. We hope you’ll enjoy and share the videos, and also consider making a donation to the New Mexico Musicians Relief Fund. The easiest way to view the videos is to go to the St. John’s Music Ministries Facebook page. Check back daily!
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed through April 10. We will keep you apprised as things develop.

Your St. John's pastors and staff are still very much on the job, and are available to you during this time. Please reach out to us if we can help you in any way!

Each year the funds we raise during the Lenten/Easter season go to many local ministries. A sample of those includes the following: Family Promise, Grace Meal, Asbury Pie Cafe, Wesley House, McCurdy Ministries, NM Ramp Project, Mobile Food Pantry, lunch bags for the homeless, Breaking Bread Meals, Silver Horizons and many more. In these difficult times these ministries need our help more than ever. Please give generously.
Please come to pray in the labyrinth any time of day. Park in the east parking lot near the front doors of the sanctuary/narthex doors. Our prayer labyrinth is directly to the south of the front doors. It is advisable to have one person on the labyrinth at a time. Enter the prayer labyrinth with a personal prayer and then quietly and contemplatively experience what God has to share with you during this time.
Office Administrator, Debbie Brown, will be answering the phone at St. John’s every weekday from 9:00 am-2:00 pm. Please call the office if you have any concerns or pastoral care needs. Debbie will get messages to Pastor Pam and Pastor Kelly. The office number is 505-883-9717.

The St. John's staff includes a licensed mental health counselor who is available to meet virtually (using a smartphone or computer) in a secure online platform during these anxious times. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, counseling is available. Click here or contact Susan Brumbaugh at 505-506-6717 or counselor@stjohns-abq.org for more details about session and cost information.
Congregational Care Corner

How we support you and your family in prayer during this difficult time? Prayers for health, employment, peace? Please send your prayer requests to the Prayer Team: mapalook@comcast.net

It is hard to get out and many people shouldn’t. Is there something you need delivered from the store? If we are able to help, we have a few volunteers who would like to serve as Go-fers for people who need something but cannot get it on their own. Please pass any requests on to Jarrod at c.care@stjohns-abq.org
Contact Us
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at communicate@stjohns-abq.org