March 31, 2020
LENT

Exodus 17: 1-7

A story of how God graciously responds to us in the midst of complaints and suffering.

As we read the scriptures in Lent, let us remember we are in a season of turning and a time of practicing spiritual disciplines. Especially those of fasting, prayer, and a deeper focus on almsgiving.

Low and behold, you and I who thought just a few short weeks ago we might enter into a time of giving up something for Lent like chocolate or spirits, or that we might add a few extra prayers during Holy Week or on weekdays, find ourselves plunged into a time of fasting from social interactions and routines, whether we want to or not! And I am sure find ourselves praying for many things, we had not thought to pray for in ways we had not imagined we could.

Lent it seems has come to us, making time, and creating a greater sense of our human frailty and a greater awareness of how little control we really do have over our lives.

In this context, I find myself feeling a lot more sympathetic to those unruly congregates of early Israel, “there was no water for the people to drink”, and a quarrel broke out. I can relate, I felt the murmurs rising in the grocery store when the shelves were empty.

And there was God, leading the people by “the roundabout way of wilderness”. Doing what only God could do, drawing water from the rock. I love the question in vs 7 “Is the Lord among us or not?”. Yes or no? And its invitation to all who read, we who murmur and we who cry out, to tell the improbable story of a God who divines water from rocks in the middle of nowhere. God gives the people what they need, when they need it, even when their attitude and lack of faith turns snarky and undisciplined. Is God not also ready to give us water in whatever desert we find ourselves?

Practice:
How might water be a metaphor for all of the ways in which God comes to us in a weary and parched time? Name the ways, list the ways, write a prayer of the ways in which God comes to give us water in the desert. Here’s my attempt. I’d love to hear yours. I am indebted to Larry Luna as well for reminding me of the grace of water in a dry place.

Peace my friends.

Prayer:
I give thanks to you O Lord, for the gifts of engineers, water authorities, and plumbers. All of those who protect, conserve and help us care for the water we have. I give thanks that I have a water tap in my home. Thankful that I am able to wash my hands.

I pray for all of those who are without clean water: those in refugee camps around the world; people in places whose water contains lead and contaminants that are not safe.

Stir up in us your Holy Spirit that gushes forth in life giving ways. Help us who murmur, to receive the gifts You give with grateful hearts. And turn our hearts toward others, that we may serve the common good through sharing Your good gifts of creation by conservation, almsgiving that seeks to provide safe drinking water to people near and far. May we live as people who trust your abundance and risk your grace in the world. Amen.

-- Pastor Kelly Giese
ZOOM TUTORIAL
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!

"COFFEE BREAK" WITH PASTORS PAM & KELLY
Wednesday, April 1 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.

"SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT" CLASS WITH PASTOR PAM
Thursday, April 2 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.

REVISED MEN'S BIBLE STUDY
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.
MUSIC FROM ST. JOHN'S
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!
LIVE-STREAMED WORSHIP
Sunday, April 5 - Palm Sunday
Join Us Sunday 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). Look for more information by Saturday about where to log in to join us!
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.
VIRTUAL TAI CHI WITH KATHY:
ST. JOHN'S FACILITY IS CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 10
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!
ST. JOHN'S PRAYER LABYRINTH IS OPEN
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.
CONTACT US
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.

ONLINE COUNSELING SERVICE AVAILABLE
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.
Contact Us
www.stjohns-abq.org
(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