September 3, 2020

“My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast. And my mouth praises you with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:5

As with most of the biblical metaphors, the banquet or feast is a physical event with all sorts of social and spiritual implications. It isn’t just about just eating and drinking, but means much more. The banquet is always a celebration of some sort, but the purpose of the party is crucial as is the attitude of the attendees.

Most often, the banquet is a feast to celebrate an important event. Abraham makes a great feast in honor of Isaac’s weaning (Gen. 21:8). Laban provides a wedding feast for his daughter’s marriage to Jacob (Gen. 29: 22). Rulers like Pharaoh or Solomon, with ample funds in their food budgets, are always throwing big feasts. In The Song of Songs, the Beloved exclaims of her Lover: “He brought me to the banqueting table, and his banner over me is love” (2:4). This has often been read as an allegory of God’s bringing us to his table of grace. The Psalmist in the verse at the beginning of this devotion spiritualizes the food motif in this way: the blessings of God and his steadfast love are like a feast. Isaiah develops this promise of a final divine banquet in Chapter 25, where a great feast will be offered on the mountain of the Lord after which, “he will swallow up death forever” (v. 8). It’s a biblical promise that after all the suffering, we will someday be feasting in God’s presence.

At times in scripture, banqueting is deemed inappropriate. In Daniel Chapter 5, Belshazzar feasts using the sacred vessels stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem. It doesn’t end well, with a scary disembodied hand writing on the wall predicting destruction. Isaiah in Chapter 5 warns rich people who feast with money unjustly gained, and Jeremiah speaks on behalf of the Lord in banishing feasting in the face of the sinfulness of the people. These passages of judgment are harsh, especially when they address the haves partying at the expense of the have-nots, or those who celebrate to distract themselves from neglected responsibilities to God and their fellow humans.

Jesus’ use of the banqueting metaphor reflects both the promise and threat of the Old Testament passages we’ve looked at above. The rich man in the parable in Luke 16 regrets his treatment of poor man Lazarus in life, but after they are dead, it is too late. Levi/Matthew, after his call to discipleship, gives Jesus a great feast as reported in Luke 5, but invites a group of his tax collector friends as well. This action of mingling with sinners brings much criticism of Jesus from the religious leaders. Jesus develops this idea of unconventional table guests in his banquet parables. In one the expected guests don’t show, too busy with their daily lives, so the host invites the poor, crippled, and lame (Luke 14: 15-24). It is a clear warning that God’s invitation requires deeper commitment than we are sometimes ready to give. Earlier in that chapter, we are told to humble ourselves and not expect the seat of honor, nor invite those who can pay us back (Luke 14: 7-14). Priorities seem to be different in the Kingdom of Heaven than our typical social norms. It is not the comfortable or self-sufficient who are included, but the needy and outcast. Jesus also warns us to be prepared for the coming divine banquet in parables about the watchful slaves (Luke 12: 35-40) or wise and foolish maidens (Matt. 25: 1-

13). In these stories, God’s love is a tough love that includes our taking responsibility for our actions.

As I worked on this metaphor, I was taken aback by the complicated biblical message of the feast or banquet. I guess I expected a more straight-forward celebration of God’s blessings untinged by all the judgment. God’s grace, while free, doesn’t come cheap, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since the resurrection doesn’t come without the cross. And scripture is clear that God doesn’t like being taken for granted. The divine banquet is waiting and we are invited. But according to the teachings, we are called to bring along the least, the lost, the lame, and the left-behind. Maybe we’re ready to attend the banquet when we realize we're finally not judging people who fail or condemning people who are different. With God’s grace, may it be so.

Do we get so busy with daily life that we forget both to celebrate God’s blessings and share them with others? Are our first thoughts about people inclusive or exclusive?

-- Jack Nuzum
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at!

Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
A Focus Word or Phrase
A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
The Body of the Devotion (one page is a good guideline)
A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
Hi there! I love showing you photos of what we are doing at the church, but what I think would be an even more amazing thing to share is a picture of you! Send me pictures and/or videos of you/your family/your pets/your garden/your cooking/etc with a short description.
Wednesdays | 8:00 am & 7:00 pm
Please join us on Wednesday mornings & evenings for a worship service of praise and prayer. This service will take place in the Memorial Garden of St. John’s on the west side of the building. This services is designed to be thirty minutes and will be led by Certified Lay Ministers Larry Luna & Joe Marshall. Please bring your own lawn chairs and sit six feet from your neighbor. In an effort to keep all of us safe and healthy, masks are required.
Wednesday, September 2 | 7:00 pm
Come receive communion in your car on Wednesday, September 2 and gather in safe community to worship and praise God. We encourage you to bring your own elements (bread & juice). If you do not have your own elements, we will provide individually-packaged elements. We will gather in the east parking lot of St. John's (2626 Arizona Street NE).
Women's Studies Via ZOOM
We will be offering all our classes via ZOOM so you can attend from the convenience of your own home - perhaps even in your pjs if you want!

Registration Information
  • No charge to take the class but you will need to purchase your own book
  • Information provided when you sign up for a class on possible sources for books
  • Depending on the class you choose, cost of book is usually between $10 - $16 plus shipping
  • Deadlines given to allow time to order and receive your book before class begins
  • Sign up for the class(es) you want by emailing Donna at
  • Maximum number of participants listed with each class so if interested in a particular class, please register as soon as possible
  • Waiting lists created for any classes that reach maximum number but still have ladies interested in participating
  • If there are enough on the waiting list for a particular class, a second session will be considered
Forgiveness, A Lenten Study, by Marjorie J. Thompson, led by Barbara Stanfield

This study started right before the stay-at-home requirement so only two sessions were held. Barbara will review those first two sessions on September 8 so anyone who might be interested in joining the class can still do so.

September 8 - October 6 (5 weeks), Tuesdays, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Deadline for registration: now
Maximum number for class is 11; 7 are currently enrolled so 4 spaces available

Forgiving others and humbly asking for forgiveness are central disciplines for all Christian believers. Lent, a time to reflect on our Christian journey, is an appropriate time to deepen our understanding and practice of forgiveness. Using biblical examples and real-life situations, Thompson illustrates each chapter's theme in an informative and engaging way. With clarity, insight, and sensitivity, this book is the perfect resource for examining both our ability to forgive and our own need for forgiveness.
Grounded in Prayer, by Jim Cowart, Jennifer Cowart, Jorge Acevedo, and Matthew Hartsfield, led by Karen Tidler

September 8 - October 13 (6 weeks), Tuesdays, 9:15 - 11:15 am
Deadline for registration: now
Maximum number for class is 11

You don’t know God until you talk to God. Prayer is a crucial way for us to experience God’s grace. Jesus used The Lord's Prayer to teach all disciples about how to communicate with God. Christians also order their lives around their relationships with each other, and these relationships are strengthened through personal and corporate prayer with God. The Lord's Prayer is a template for how to bring our needs, concerns, and challenges to God, who cares for each of us.
God of Covenant, a Study of Genesis 12-50 by Jen Wilkin, led by Donna Bruce

October 6 - December 8 (10 weeks), Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Deadline for registration: September 24
Maximum number for class is 11

In Genesis 12-50, we see our God as the Covenant Maker. Starting in chapter 12, Jen Wilkin walks through the stories of the fathers of our faith - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through these chapters in Genesis, we witness image bearers who sin and wrestle to maintain trust in the only One who will fulfill every promise, the One for whom nothing is too hard.
Matchless, the Life and Love of Jesus, by Angie Smith, led by Donna Bruce

September 21 - November 9 (8 weeks), Mondays, 9:30 - 11:30 am
Deadline for registration: September 9
Maximum number for class is 11

We live in a world where there is a lot of confusion about Jesus. Disillusion and doubt give us a distorted picture of who Jesus really is. Too often people want to shape Jesus and His message to fit their personal needs or agendas. How can we know the truth? Join Angie Smith as she uses her signature wit and insight to tell the beautiful story of our matchless Savior. As you dive into Jesus' message, miracles, and mission, you'll be challenged and invited to see Him in a new light whether you've walked with Him for many years or are meeting Him for the first time.
A CALL TO HOME GARDENERS: The Food Ministry Wants Your Fresh Produce From Your Garden
St John’s Food Ministry continues to serve the people of Albuquerque--approximately 500 people per month!--with hot meals prepared in our kitchen,  Do you have a surplus of fresh produce from your garden that you would like to donate to St. John's to feed the hungry? If so, please contact Chef Tim at
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 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
Online Groups
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!
Summer is past, and as we get back to school? Our Solid Ground youth group will resume meeting every Sunday at 4:00-5:15PM with new games, discussions, and faith-building activities plus new features of the student led Soap Box and Top 5s. Log-in. at: (case sensitive).

While we are not yet allowed to sing together, stay informed about the activities of the Sonrise Youth Choir, including weekly Zooms on Thursdays at 4:00 pm (Jackbox games!!), and musical workshops in the Fall! Email Shea at!
Tuesdays | 7:30 pm
Wednesdays | 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
Wednesdays | 6:00 pm
Wednesday Night Bible Club is still on! Grade school friends join us on Zoom to get your weekly Bible lesson, watch the So & So Show, and pray with your friends. This summer we are taking a Focus on Faith! Don’t miss it! Email for more information!
Thursdays | 1:30 pm -- Starting August 6th
Meet by zoom with Pastor Pam for a 30 minute spiritual practice every Thursday afternoon. We will explore different ways to pray, to commune with God, to nurture our spiritual lives with Christ through the Indwelling Holy Spirit. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
Getting Started on Your Family History Manuscript: A limited number of openings are left in this Zoom genealogy class, and the deadline for enrollment is Saturday, August 29. Sign up today by emailing Regina Hunter at or Terri Link at
Most of us have read only read bits and pieces of the book of Daniel: “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” and “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace.” This brief episode of St. John’s email Bible study will examine what else happened to Daniel and his friends in Babylon. Download a study guide, or call or write Regina Hunter for daily scripture readings and study tips, at 294-2877 or
Fridays | 9:30 - 10:00 am
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.) If you want to learn more prior to starting, the sessions will be similar to ones she leads and records on YouTube. Each session will be hosted on Zoom. HERE is the zoom link. Please contact Susan Brumbaugh,, or 505-506-6716, if you have questions.
Congregational Care Corner
Lynn Pate is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for August 31st through September 13th.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, please hold Lynn tight in your embrace sustaining her by your grace and giving her strength and courage for whatever challenges she may face.”

With the Church currently closed, the prayer shawls have taken up residence with Hunt and Ann. They are actually quite comfortable in the coolness of their new home but they would love to be of comfort to someone in need of God’s love. Please contact Ann at or 768-7013 if you would like a shawl. If you call, the basket will await your visit in their courtyard. Blessings -
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: or submit them on our website HERE.

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

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 for more details about session and cost information. Susan also has a Youtube Channel with mindfulness tips HERE.

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
SEPTEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Sacramento Methodist Assembly
   As summer winds up this year, let's pause and remember the church camp experiences of our lives, wherever they may be.
You may remember youth camps, women's or men's conferences, marriage retreats, lay speaker schools and many more events Some people made their first commitment to Christ in a camp setting. Most remember growing closer to God.
   Sadly, this year most events at Sacramento and other camps were canceled by Covid resulting in not only lots of disappointment, but also serious financial hardship. We at St. John's have the opportunity this month to support our beautiful camp in the Sacramento mountains south of Cloudcroft and ensure future opportunities with other Christians to pray, worship, play and study in God's beautiful creation. Please give generously.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until further notice. 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!
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.
Contact Us
(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