July 9, 2020

“For the bread of heaven is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6: 33

The underlying premise of these Magnificent Metaphors meditations (this is the third) is that we humans live in a three-story universe. The first level is the material world governed by the laws of nature. The second story is the cultural world of language, art, and history: the world of symbols. The third story is the spiritual world, which infuses the other three but is hard to detect. It usually breaks through in times of great love, great beauty, or great suffering. It is more apprehended than comprehended. To describe the spiritual dimension, we have to use items we can see or touch from the material world to represent the realities that can’t be accessed by the senses.

The scriptural use of the word ‘bread’ shows us all three dimensions. There are many references to the physical food as when Adam is told he has to go out and work for his bread instead of leisurely picking it off of the (bread)fruit tree in the Garden… Joseph made sure there was bread for the Egyptians as well as his own family during the famine years. Often scripture talks about bread reviving life among hungry soldiers and civilians in times of famine or war. In 1 Kings, bread-and-water rations in prison are the measure of the bare essentials in terms of physical survival. Significantly, depriving the hungry of bread is a major indictment of the wealthy for the Old Testament prophets.

Physical bread takes on greater significance throughout the Bible when we talk about ‘breaking bread,’ the essence of hospitality, one of the gifts of the spirit. Abraham offers bread to his angelic visitors, Boaz shares his bread with Ruth, and Jesus offers fish sandwiches during his post-resurrection cookout on the beach. The Festival of Unleavened Bread connected with Passover is another example of real bread taking on symbolic significance, in this case the bread of affliction and haste as the Hebrews remember the days of slavery and their miraculous escape. The tabernacle and later the temple had a table for the Bread of the Presence, representing God’s provision for His people (which we still request when we ask for our daily bread in The Lord’s Prayer.) Moses and later Jesus fast for forty days giving up bread in preparation for divine inspiration. There are negative connotations of bread in places such as Jesus condemning the yeast of the Pharisees or Judas dipping his bread in the bowl with Jesus before the betrayal. Psalms and Proverbs warn us about the bread of wickedness or adversity or idleness. On the other hand, casting our bread upon the water is a symbol of diligence and faith!

Most importantly, of course, are the spiritual insights we gain through the Biblical use of bread as a symbol of grace. Although God sends bread to Elijah as nourishment and encouragement during a famine, Jesus tells Satan that we do not live by bread alone but by the words from the mouth of God, which provide spiritual nourishment. Similarly, God sends manna from heaven to the Children of Israel wandering in the desert in Exodus, which Jesus says foreshadows a new form of the Bread of Heaven: He Himself, the Bread of Life. When he offers his disciples bread during the last supper, he explains how the symbolism works: ‘This is my body broken for you.’ The gift of life comes through His death on the cross. By eating the bread during the sacrament of communion we acknowledge that Jesus took upon Himself the suffering of the world and transformed that pain into new life. And by eating the sacred bread, we also promise to follow that same path: dying to ourselves and taking on the life of Christ. The bread of flour and water becomes the bread of spirit and eternal life.

It’s interesting that we don’t really make bread: we just assemble ingredients and let the laws of chemistry create the loaf. Similarly, we can’t save ourselves but only accept that the law of love is creating in us a new loaf, uh, life in Christ.

What ingredients do you need to provide God so that God can create a new life in you?

-- Jack Nuzum
Families in the program are currently staying at Church of the Good Shepherd, off Tramway. This has been the centralized location since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. St. John's still will be contributing food during our host week, July 26th - Aug. 1st. Laura Combs, director of Family Promise, has asked that we provide staples and dinners. If you wish to prepare a meal, deliver a meal, or do both please go to our SignUp Genius link.  

If you would like to contribute money please send in a check or contribute online here. For either, please indicate "Family Promise" on your donation. For additional questions, please contact Linn Furnish: or (505) 884-6626 or Jenn Shields: or (505) 450-9978.
Abiquiu Lake!
-- Shea
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, and I will share them here and compile them for a project!
-- Shea Perry, Communications Director
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Reverend Dr. Pam Rowley at!
7:00 pm
Come and worship in your car on Saturday, June 20 and gather in safe community to worship and praise God. We will gather in the east parking lot of St. John's (2626 Arizona Street NE). we will be collecting for two recipients - Zuni Elementary and the Four Corners ministry. Zuni really needs hand sanitizer of at least 65% alcohol content, Kleenix, sanitizing wipes and regular pump hand soap. The Four Corners ministry is in need of items to entertain the children: coloring books, crayons, small educational toys, and books with loving subject matter. All monies collected during those offerings will go to the Zuni special offering unless designated otherwise.
Rev. Dr. Todd Seelau | JULY 11
Rev. Dr. Randall Partin| JULY 25
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

Over the next five weeks we are exploring our spiritual gifts in our sermon series, Discovering our Spiritual Gifts. Please take a few minutes to discover your gifts by taking the Spiritual Gift Inventory from Discipleship Ministries of the UMC  HERE. At the end of the inventory, you will have the opportunity to print out the results. Keep that list and pray over your spiritual gifts as you discover how to use those gifts for the kingdom of God.
8:00 am & 7:00 pm
Please join us on Wednesday mornings and evenings for a worship service of praise and prayer. Both services will take place in the Memorial Garden of St. John’s on the west side of the building. These services are designed to be thirty minutes and will be led by Certified Lay Ministers, Larry Luna and 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. THESE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND EVENING SERVICES will continue for the summer (at least that is the plan now).
Wednesdays at 12:00 pm
Join us for a new series of concerts live-streamed from the St. John's sanctuary! Concerts are a benefit for Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless.

Ingela Onstad, Michael Hix, & Amy Greer
Wednesday, August 5
7:00 pm
Come receive communion in your car on Wednesday, July 1 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).
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!

IT IS SUMMER, and we have a new series for students exploring new games, discussions, and faith-building activities every Sunday from 4:00-5:15PM! Go to: (case sensitive) password if needed is 233374. NEW SUMMER URL
CHANGE: TUESDAYS from 7:30 - 8:30 pm
Is distance learning with your child harder than you thought? Are the challenges of parenting in close quarters overwhelming at times? Or do you just miss talking with other parents? I know that I certainly do, so join us for Parents Club on Zoom TUESDAY evenings from 7:30-8:30 pm! Email
Wednesdays at 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
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 at 1:30 pm
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
Fridays from 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.
ST. JOHN'S EMAIL BIBLE STUDY: Theology in Popular Music - Mostly the Good
Last year’s study, “The Songs of Summer” seemed to be a hit, so we’re going to do it again. This summer we’ll listen to some popular music that sings about prayer and healing, some international music, some bluegrass and country, some great young singers who are the future of the Church, and some show tunes.  Download the study guide, or sign up for daily study tips by email by writing or calling Regina Hunter at or 294-2877.
Congregational Care Corner
The Passing of Two Beloved Church Members
We found out this week that Beth McComas passed away on June 29. She joined St. John’s in 2005; she was 90 years young.

Sally Mullis passed away on July 4, 2020. May the light of Christ shine forever upon both Beth & Sally and all who loved them.

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:

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.

For many years St. John's has had a special relationship with our neighbor, Zuni Elementary School. For example, over the years, we have provided school supplies, backpacks, after school programs, and a Back to School Luncheon for the staff.

This year, as you can imagine, Zuni's needs are a bit different. Hand Sanitizers and wipes, kleenex and pump soap top the list! You can donate in kind on Saturday nights. (See separate article for details) Or, of course, you may send monetary donations to the church any time.

Finally, please keep the students and staff of Zuni ( and all the schools in town) in your prayers. Starting up again will be different and stressful for everyone.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until August 2! 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: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at