Saturday, April 18, 2020
PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

After Christ’s resurrection, his followers were left in a state of confusion, shock, and fear. They had been with Jesus for 3 years, seeing him daily, and now he was gone -CRUCIFIED. Jesus had tried to prepare them. He had told them that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be resurrected again. He comforted them by saying that they would not be left alone. Jesus said that he would send them a Counselor to be with them forever- the Spirit of Truth. Yet, as they saw all of these events unfold before their eyes, they found it hard to comprehend. Even after reports that Jesus was alive and that the tomb was empty, they could not believe. What was happening?

Amid the confusion, the risen Jesus began to make appearances, first to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, later that day to two men on a road to Emmaus and then to the 11 disciples locked away in a room.

Over the next 40 days there were many such sightings. The Bible tells us that more than 500 people directly encountered the risen Jesus, and not just once or twice. Jesus spent 40 days teaching and instructing his disciples. (1Cor 15:6, Acts 1:1-3) The last appearance of Jesus was to the 11, when he promised them, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Some time ago, our class read about these appearances in the book, “The Story.” The accompanying commentary presented an idea that has stayed with me ever since. It suggested that these unexpected comings and goings of Jesus were meant to transition his followers from the days when Jesus was physically present in their midst to a time when they would not see him physically. They would have to learn to trust that he was near even when they could not see him. This they called, “Practicing the Presence of God.”
Today believers know that Jesus has come to live in us through the Holy Spirit, that he is always just a thought away. Yet, when our world is shaken, it is easy to feel that we have lost that connection. We forget what we “Know.” We ask, “God, what is happening?” That is when we need to remember to Practice the Presence of God. How different would our day be if we could imagine in our spirit that Jesus is walking right beside us? We would have to have our “eyes” open to recognize him and our “ears” open to hear his voice.

What Scripture might he want to remind us of that we have been taught but have forgotten? What words of comfort would he have for us as we sit watching the frightening news reports about the Corona virus? How much more courageous would we feel walking down the grocery aisles if we knew that Jesus had our hand and would never let go?

 I think I hear him saying to us what he said to his disciples,
“Fear not,”
 “Peace be with you,”
 “Surely, I am with you always.”

Exercise:
Practice the Presence of God.

-- Barbara Spates
JOIN US FOR WORSHIP LIVE-STREAMED FROM THE SANCTUARY
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service tomorrow morning at 9:30 am (Contemporary) on the Abide Facebook page and 11:00 am (Traditional) on the homepage of the website. 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.
Online Classes
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
Wednesdays 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
Thursdays 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.
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!
VIRTUAL TAI CHI WITH KATHY:
ST. JOHN'S FACILITY IS CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 30
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed through April 30. 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!
CASA ESPERANZA
Casa Esperanza has suspended volunteer dinners. Instead, they have asked for monetary donations. St. John's has a Casa Esperanza fund, please note "Casa Esperanza" on your check or on your online donation. For each $150.00 donation, Casa Esperanza will purchase dinner for the residents. Casa Esperanza is working with St. John's and local businesses, to provide meals. Questions?? Please contact Jenn Shields at jennshields200@yahoo.com or 505-450-9978.

FAMILY PROMISE
Family Promise has decided to keep the families at Church of the Good Shepherd until May. Since we are not hosting in April, Family Promise is asking for money to help off set the costs. Checks sent to St. John's can be noted "Family Promise" or you can donate online directly to Family Promise here. If you are willing to donate games, gift cards, lawn chairs, mini refrigerator, microwave, the use of an RV or rental home for housing families, please contact Jenn Shields. If you have other questions, please contact either Linn Furnish at swimsew@comcast.net - 505-884-6626 OR Jenn Shields at jennshields200@yahoo.com - 505-450-9978.

APRIL SPECIAL OFFERING: LENTEN OFFERING  
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.
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.
Congregational Care Corner

PRAYER SUPPORT
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

GO-FER TEAM
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
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