Friday
January 29, 2021
MAGNIFICENT METAPHORS: THE KINGDOM OF GOD: OLD TESTAMENT
(Note: These two devotions are largely based on ideas from the book The Kingdom of God by John Bright.)

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” (Is. 52:7)

There is scarcely a biblical concept so pervasive or important as that of the Kingdom, or Reign, of God. It is the subject of much of Jesus’ teachings, but has deep roots in the Old Testament. The core idea is that our salvation and ultimate happiness rests in living in community under the reign of God, obedient to the rule of divine love. The message of scripture is that the reign of God is present but yet not fulfilled, both a present expectation and a future hope. This tension between ‘here, but not yet’ is palpable throughout the Bible.

The first expression of the community of God is in the idea of a covenant people founded in the faith of Father Abraham and passed through his descendants. The Hebrews are a people marked off because of their belief in one God, Creator of all and Lord of history. The covenant is crystalized on Mt. Sinai with the giving of the law to Moses, both ethical precepts and ritual rules for sustaining the community. The giving of the Law, of course, is the culmination of one of God’s great acts in history in releasing the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. Later the community morphs from a loose alliance of tribes to a centralized monarchy under King David, and the Kingdom of God becomes identified with the Kingdom of Israel. The danger in identifying the reign of God with the reign of a particular king becomes obvious when the people of Israel value their political power, their glorious temple, and their economic success over obedience to God. The visible worldly kingdom replaces the invisible spiritual Kingdom.

A whole series of prophets from Elijah to Malachi, from the Eighth Century to the Fourth Century B.C., address the key issues of the worldly kingdom: greed, neglect of the marginalized, dependence on armies and alliances, abandoning Yahweh for other gods, external forms of worship over ethical behavior. The Lord of History judges His people harshly for not keeping the covenant, and first the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern (Judah) are destroyed. With this latter crisis, several new ideas about the Kingdom of God emerge: the idea of the Remnant (a minority of faithful purified by the fires of suffering); the identification of the community not with the Temple rituals but with strict obedience to the Law; and the future hope of God’s Anointed, the Messiah, coming to restore the reign of God after the destruction of the political kingdom.

Each of these ideas have a long life best expressed in the book of Isaiah. The faithful remnant becomes not just those who are Hebrew by birth, but all who choose to follow God (Is. 60:1-7) The community of law is represented by the Pharisees, who are the founders of modern Judaism. And the coming Messiah, popularly presented as a new King David, is described in Isaiah as a Suffering Servant, who willingly and innocently suffers for his people, bearing their wounds (Is. 53:2-9.) The Suffering Servant motif is a minor motif in the Old Testament; the more common image is of the apocalyptic Day of the Lord in which all injustices will be corrected after a cosmic struggle (Joel 2.)

At this point, the stage is set for the coming of Jesus, the Divine Word made flesh, who will incorporate all of the ideas developed by his ancestors into his message of the Kingdom of God.

Reflections: In the lectionary of Bible passages for each Sunday of the year, the first Sunday of Advent always includes not the first coming of Jesus, but the second! Why do you think it’s important to keep the future in mind as we live the present? Are the dangers of identifying the Kingdom of God with political party or state still with us today?

-- Jack Nuzum
ASSISTANCE IN REGISTERING FOR VACCINATION
Friday, January 29 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
St. John’s is providing assistance in registering for vaccinations. Debby Smith will be at the west glass doors on Friday, January 29, 10:00-Noon. Debbie will help you fill-out the needed registration/application on-line. If you prefer to not come to the church, you may call Debby at 505-554-4238 and she will walk you through the process. If you come to St. John’s, please wear your mask. There will be no access to the rest of the building.
THE PRACTICE OF PRESENCE
No Session Today! - Join us next week on February 5
Susan Brumbaugh, staff mental health counselor at St. John's, is offering a FREE weekly gathering on FRIDAYS at 9:30 am to practice mindfulness meditation. Each 30-minute session begins with a brief welcome, a description of the focus (e.g., breath, body, senses, emotions, thoughts), a 15-20 minute guided practice, and an opportunity to debrief and share experiences. Anyone is welcome--no experience is necessary. (And, yes! It's okay for Christians to meditate.) Learn more about Susan's class on our Online Community Page, and we hope to see you next week on February 5!
WORKSHOP ON VACCINATIONS
Monday, February 1 | 10:00 am
Wednesday, February 3 | 3:00 pm
You are invited to a workshop with Linn Furnish, RN, Parish Nurse and Carol Dolan, RN focused on COVID-19 and the vaccines that now are becoming available. We will discuss how this virus causes disease, mutations that are occurring, how the virus spreads and preventive measures to protect us. We will also share important information about the vaccines— how they work, their development and approval, side effects, registration information, and Pros and Cons. Our hope is that by offering this workshop, you will be to make informed decisions about healthy practices in dealing with COVID-19 and getting the vaccine.

The Workshop will be held on the following days (choose one) by Zoom:
Monday, February 1 at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, February 3 at 3:00 p.m.

To register for a workshop, please contact Linn Furnish by email:
swimsew@comcast.net
DRIVE-IN, DROP-OFF FOR SILVER HORIZONS
January 30 | 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Most Requested Non-Food Items needed:
  • Walmart or gas station gift cards
  • Knit caps, gloves
  • Lap blankets, warm shawls
  • Socks with gripper pads on soles
  • Magnifiers, flashlights
  • Basic hygiene/toiletry items
  • Most Requested Food Items needed:
  • Dry pasta (any type), Rice (any type)
  • Dry beans (any type)
  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Toilet tissue, facial tissue
  • Nutritional drinks (like Ensure)
  • Baking items (cake mixes with frosting, cookies mixes, flour, sugar, etc.)
  • Dry cat food
  • ANY Non-perishable food items
  • Monetary donations welcomed: bring to drive-in, drop-off event; mail to the church; online giving

Please write "SILVER HORIZONS" in the memo field of your check
Contact: Kathy Dieruf (kadieruf@gmail.com) with questions
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! (Pastor Pam 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 link is HERE
MONDAY MORNING MUSIC WITH MATT
Monday, February 1 | 9:00 am
Join St. John’s Music Director Matt Greer on Mondays at 9:00 am, for a discussion of things coming up in the music ministry, and talks with special guests. This Monday, February 1, Matt will talk with Dr. Michael Hix, UNM voice professor and new artistic director of the St. John’s Bach Project. Link is HERE.
ST. JOHN'S COMMUNITY GARDEN
You may have not been near St. John’s recently, but a community garden is now on the west side of the church (northwest corner). Because we are just getting started, our goals are simple:

· To provide produce for Chef Tim to use through the kitchen ministry, especially in feeding the hungry in Albuquerque,

· To give away produce from the garden to those in need, and

· To partner with Zuni Elementary kindergarten teachers on garden projects.

However, we have much grander aspirations once the garden is established but our main question will be “how are we neighboring?”
Therese and Crystal (a Zuni kindergarten teacher) partnered in the fall to give each Zuni kindergarten student a small packet containing soil, seeds, cups and instructions to teach and encourage gardening.

We currently have 4 4x8 garden boxes in the garden area with plans to add 4 4x4 garden boxes soon. In addition, 3 garden boxes have been placed along the south wall of the family life center with the purpose of mainly growing herbs and smaller vegetables to be used in the St. John’s kitchen (we call it “Tim’s Garden”). The wood for these garden boxes was donated by the New Mexico Ramp Project from the scraps they could not use on ramps!
Our immediate plans for the garden are: 1) complete the building of the garden boxes and get all filled and ready for spring planting, 2) build two hoop houses to start seedlings for the garden and 3) continue reaching out to Zuni with ways we can partner through the garden.

If you’re interested in being involved with the garden or being part of the garden team, please contact Regina Hampton at HAMPTONMASON1@msn.com.

Thank you, in advance, for helping us get the community garden going!
HOOP HOUSES FOR ST. JOHN'S COMMUNITY GARDEN
We’re now ready to take the next step with the St. John’s Community Garden – building two hoop houses (similar to greenhouses but not so elaborate) in the lower section of the garden in which we can start seedlings and produce plants for the garden plus share plants with others. Trustees have given us the nod to proceed. Del Jimenez, NMSU Horticulture Department, will be overseeing the construction of the hoop houses.

We have funding for one hoop house but need to raise $1500 for the 2nd one. The New Mexico Ramp Project has generously volunteered to provide the materials and labor for building the growing boxes that will be placed in the hoop houses.

Do you think this is a worthwhile cause? If so, we appreciate any help you can give us to make it happen. Please put “hoop house” in the memo of your check or online giving.
FREE GROCERIES TO LOW-INCOME SENIORS
Bernalillo County and Silver Horizons will offer free groceries to low-income senior citizens (60+) at a drive-thru grocery pickup event in the South Valley on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. The drive-thru will be open from 11:00AM-12:30PM in the parking lot at the Rio Bravo Senior Center, 3910 Isleta Blvd SW (map). Organizers are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID; food will be pre-packed and volunteers will be wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Low income seniors picking up groceries should not arrive before 10:00 a.m. Masks are required and seniors must remain in their vehicles at all times. Workers will put the food directly into seniors’ vehicles. For more info call 505-468-7650. 
WOMEN'S LENTEN STUDY
He Chose the Nails, What God Did to Win Your Heart by Max Lucado
  • February 23 - March 23 (5 weeks), Tuesdays, 2 - 4 p.m., via Zoom
  • Maximum number for class is 11
  • Facilitator: Karen Tidler
  • Register by emailing donnabruce@comcast.net; registration deadline: February 7

When Jesus took his last breath, did he secure salvation for humanity or perpetrate history's biggest hoax? Travel to Golgotha with Lucado and decide for yourself. With his characteristic insight, Lucado examines the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Christ's crucifixion and explains why the cross is central to our own search for significance.
ST. JOHN’S EMAIL BIBLE STUDY
St. John's Email Bible Study continues with “What Must I Do to Be Saved? Part 3c, God wants you to have eternal life.” We have seen in the past portions of this study that the New Testament continues the Old Testament theme of salvation as saving our physical lives and health and giving us the abundance we need to be comfortable and content. For the first time, we also see unambiguous promises of life that is “eternal” or “everlasting.” Join us as we examine the scriptural basis for our belief in resurrection and eternity with God through Jesus Christ. To receive daily study tips by email, write or call Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or 294-2877. You can also download a study guide HERE.
Youth News
YOUTH SPRING SEMESTER SURVEY
As we live into this New Year, there are several key plans the Youth Ministry is plotting regarding camping, Confirmation, and CrownPoint; Parents and students, we need your individual feedback to help guide and steer these decisions. Please take quick 3-minute survey to help us; entries are put in a drawing for a $30.00 gift card to Starbucks or Keva Juice. Find the survey HERE.

GALATIANS BIBLE STUDY ONLINE & ON-DEMAND
We have started an online on demand Bible Study over the book of Galatians for all ages. Find our discussion and post your own thoughts and observations through the following link as we explore this short and insightful book at a time that works for you. Link HERE.

NEW YOUTH GROUP SPRING ZOOM
Happy New Year! Not only is there a new year, but a new Zoom, at Sunday youth group with new games, new series, new discussions, and new faith-building activities every Sunday from 4:00-5:15PM! Zoom link HERE.
UNDERSTANDING MEDICARE
Thursday, February 4 | 10:00 am
"Understanding Medicare", presented by Karen Cooper, will be the focus of our upcoming meeting of United Methodist Women. We'll meet, via Zoom, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 4th, and we invite you to join us! Our meetings are open to all, including men, and we always welcome guests. If you'd like to receive the Zoom invitation, please send an email request to Regina Hampton at hamptonmason@msn.com. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!
MEN'S ZOOM BIBLE STUDY: GOSPEL OF LUKE
Mondays February 8 - March 15 | 10:00 am or 7:00 pm
Luke is a gospel rich in detail and focused on the meaning of salvation. Unique to Luke are the extensive birth narratives and parables such as The Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son. As a Gentile, Luke brings an outsider perspective and show sympathies to other "outsiders" like women and the marginalized of his society.
Join other men on Zoom at either 10:00 AM or 7:00 PM on six Mondays starting February 8. Contact teacher Jack Nuzum at jcnuzum@juno.com or 265-5241 to sign up.
VIRTUAL PRAYER QUILT
Dwayne Ethridge is the recipient of the prayer quilt on display for January 26 - February 8.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Dwayne: “Heavenly Father, we pray for good health and recovery for Dwayne and ask that you make known the healing power of your hands. Amen."
JANUARY SPECIAL OFFERING: Family Promise
  The pandemic has led to some significant long term changes for Family Promise. The families have been housed in one church since last March and other churches, including St. John's, have been providing meals and supplies on the usual rotating basis but without personal contact until Covid is behind us.
      That has worked well and the decision was made to obtain a permanent location which will double the number of families that can be served from 4 to 8. The good news is that a building has been found, but as you can imagine the costs are significant. Churches will continue to provide meals. Contact Jen Shields at 450-9978 if you are interested in helping.
  But the biggest way we can help now is to help pay the mortgage for the new location. Family promise has helped so many families find permanent housing, get jobs, learn parenting skills and more over the past 17 years. Let's help it continue to do this for the next 17 years. Please give generously throughout the month.
STEPHEN MINISTRY
Stephen Ministers are members of St. John’s who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide high quality, confidential Christian care to individuals experiencing a crisis or life challenge such as divorce, grief, job loss, hospitalization, relocation, or loneliness.

How does someone get a Stephen Minister?
If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, please call the office 505-883-9717 or email stephenministry@stjohns-abq.org
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