Friday
December 11, 2020
MAGNIFICENT METAPHORS: TEMPLE

“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Hab. 2: 20)

The temple in scripture is always the place of God’s presence on earth (God’s eternal home is called heaven.) Before there was a permanent building, God’s home on earth was a tent called the tabernacle. Many chapters of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are devoted to its structure, personnel, and ceremonies. The tabernacle, as with the later temple, is the place to go for repentance and to perform the necessary sacrifices to repair the damage of sin, and is also also the place for prayers, oaths, pleas, and refuge. In the House of Lord, people could feel that the Lord of all creation was right there close to us. As appropriate for God’s earthly home, both Tabernacle and Temple were elaborately decorated, no expense spared (Exodus 26, 35-36; 1 Kings 6-7.)

However, God’s presence among His people is not a given. There are many warnings about superficial worship where external rituals substitute for righteous living (I Kings 9:6-9 and the prophets.) Indeed, Solomon’s great temple was utterly destroyed during the Babylonian invasion in the early Sixth Century B.C. This crisis caused the Jewish people to reframe their religion in terms of the synagogue and study of the law. Such a reorientation proved fruitful when the Second Temple, built after the exile, was, in turn, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus railed against the misuse of the Temple and its rituals in his dramatic cleansing of the temple grounds (Matt. 21:12.)

Jesus worshiped, taught, and healed in the Temple during his ministry. But he made an important shift that was developed by Paul: He identified his own body with the temple, which, though destroyed, would be rebuilt in three days. Of course, listeners at first took his words literally, but we see that he meant that he, Jesus himself, was God’s presence on earth and therefore a new incarnation of the temple. He would die but resurrect in three days. Paul expands this view when he tells the Corinthians that each of their own bodies is a temple in which resides the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16.) And in Ephesians 2:11-21, he calls on Jew and Gentile to together build one building with Christ as the cornerstone: the Church, the newest version of the temple.

So, that is where we are today. The church is exactly what the tabernacle and temple were: God’s house, a place to meet God, perform holy rituals, repent, pray, and heal our souls. But as with the temple, the church is more than a physical structure. It is symbolic of community and of the individuals within that community. We all are bearers of the Spirit of God, gathering to recharge, scattering to serve.

Reflections: 
In Advent, what is more appropriate than to reflect on how God has been present to His people: in a tent in the desert, a magnificent temple, the person Jesus who lived and died for us, and finally the community we call St. John’s.

-- Jack Nuzum
ALL-CHURCH VIRTUAL CHOIR
We are planning a special “virtual choir” video of “Joy to the World” for the Christmas Eve service, and we’d love to have has many St. John’s members as possible participate. All you have to do is take a quick video of yourself singing the carol while listening to a prerecorded track, and submit it for Jim Ahrend and Shea Perry to work their magic with. Your family’s video will be mixed with all the others to make a huge, joyful, congregational carol.

Click HERE for instructions on how to submit your video. All ages are welcome! Please submit your recording by Wednesday, December 16!
HOLIDAY GRIEF WORKSHOP
Saturday, December 12 | 12:00 - 4:00 pm
This is a difficult season for many, and this year our grief is even more tender and apparent. You are invited to join Pastor Pam in a Holiday Grief Workshop on December 12th, 12:00-4:00 pm by Zoom as we go through some helpful tools to acknowledge our grief, to help us better understand our feelings and emotions, and as we take sweet care of ourselves during this “unusual” holiday season. Please make a reservation by emailing Debbie at reception@stjohns-abq.org so that some materials may be sent to you. A Zoom invite will then be emailed to you.
JAZZ VESPERS
Saturday, December 12 | 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers is a unique, meditative worship service that features some of New Mexico’s best professional jazz musicians. Jazz Vespers occurs on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 5:00 pm in the St. John’s United Methodist Church sanctuary.
CHRISTMAS FOOD BOXES (2020 Adjusted Version) for the John Marshall Community Center
  Once again interested St. John's church members are invited to participate in our program of providing Christmas food boxes to needy families served by the John Marshall Community Center in the south Broadway area of Albuquerque. The Center will be reaching out to families in the area who use their services. The need is tremendous and our participation is much appreciated. This year’s timeline looks like this:

*by Sunday, December 13, 2020, or sooner, commit to Jack Nuzum (tel. 265-5241, jcnuzum@juno.com) as to the number of boxes which will be provided and by whom. There is a suggested LIST OF CONTENTS for the boxes that Jack will provide. Click this LINK for the list, or ask Jack to send it directly.

*on Saturday, December 19, 2020, bring the completed boxes to the west side of St. John’s between 8 and 9:00 AM. Empty boxes are available if needed. Call Jack on how to pick them up.
Mark Dodd reads Luke 1:26-38
During Advent you are invited to participate in personal Advent Evening Prayer and Worship in the comfort of your home at the close of each day. Download this guide HERE.
#adventaltarspace

My Family Christmas Tradition

My sister's birthday is on Christmas Eve. Our family tradition on Christmas Eve was to have my sister's birthday dinner and birthday cake, then we gathered in the family room and had the advent wreath and sang Christmas carols. We finished with the youngest child who was old enough to read, reading "The Night Before Christmas." We put a piece of birthday cake and glass of milk out for Santa. Then we put up our stockings by the fireplace. We had matching bright red stockings. Mom always had extra red stockings on hand so if we had family visiting for the holidays, they were included in our tradition.

-- Edith Hendrix
#ADVENTALTARSPACE
Let’s share the spirit of Advent and Christmas by sharing photos of our at-home altar spaces, the lighting of Advent candles, and our holiday decorations! Please also consider sharing a favorite Advent & Christmas activity or memory! Email your photos and a description to Shea at communicate@stjohns-abq.org.
A CALL FOR DAILY DEVOTIONALS
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at prowley@stjohns-abq.org! Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
  • A Focus Word or Phrase
  • A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
  • One page of a Devotion
  • A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
Sundays | 9:30 & 11:00 am
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service on Sunday morning at 9:30 am (Contemporary) on the Abide Facebook page and 11:00 am (Traditional) on our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastors Pam and Kelly will lead, along with Shea Perry, Jim Ahrend, and Matt Greer). We hope that you’ll participate by singing and praying at home! Any questions? Email Matt at mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom registration is HERE.
Prayer Requests:
The Gruen family in the passing into glory of Marge

Ann Boland and family in the passing into glory of Bob

Roger and Donna Eaton in the passing of sister Virginia Davis

Donna Bruce in the passing of her brother

Karen and Hal Tidler in the passing of their brother-in-law
VIRTUAL PRAYER QUILT
Kelly Giese is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for December 7 - December 20.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Kelly: “Loving Lord, we ask that as Kelly moves forward to a new location and a new ministry, may your Holy Spirit lead and guide her and keep her steadfast, always abounding in your work and in your love. Amen."
 DECEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Two Ministries for Children
This month, we have the opportunity to support two wonderful ministries dealing with children. The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas, has helped troubled children (ages 12-18) find a place to heal and grow in a loving Christian environment for over 125 years. Younger children thrive in homes of loving foster parents. “They (MCH) are here for me when no one else is.” “They never give up on us.” “I now know that God’s going to be there for me.
      A second Methodist-supported haven for children is Providence Place in San Antonio, Texas. Its motto says it all: “Giving God’s Children a Faith, a Family, a Future.” “Providence Place loved me and helped me make the best decision for my child without any pressure,” said one birth mother in the open adoption program. And, as an adoptive couple puts it, “It is indescribable the joy that Abby has brought into our lives.” Providence Place also helps young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities develop their full potential and learn to live on their own with minimal assistance.  Both of these fine ministries rely on our generous donations.
Contact Us
www.stjohns-abq.org
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at communicate@stjohns-abq.org