August 18, 2020
The man lying by the pool.

The gospel of John 5:1-9 tells the story of a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years. Every morning, when the Sheep gate, near the northeast corner of the city of Jerusalem opened, the man found his way to the pool of Bethesda where people had been known to be healed. Bethesda means place of an outpouring of Grace. The writing doesn’t explain why Jesus was in Jerusalem, a 5 day walk from his hometown of Nazareth, except to say that it was a feast time for Jews. Perhaps it was a High Holy day where observant Jews were expected to go to the temple in Jerusalem to offer prayers and pay tithes to the temple.

This particular pool was not in the temple but was nearby and was said to have healing powers. From time to time the water would ripple in the wind, as if stirred by an angel. When the waters stirred, the first person dipped into the pool would be healed. Because of these miracles, many people who were blind, paralyzed, or had other afflictions lay on the steps of the pool waiting for the water to ripple. But being at the pool did not help a person if there was no way to get into the water. What if someone who was paralyzed rolled himself off the step into the water and drowned because he could not move his legs? What if the blind person stepped into the water and drowned because they slipped on the wet surface? To have a miracle, a person had to step out in faith at considerable personal cost. Most of the people at the pool of Bethesda had no one to care for them; they were alone in their infirmity.

I would imagine that, while there was still some hope or the people wouldn’t come every day, that, over the years the people at the pool became a community, succumbing to learned helplessness. They probably had their favorite spot by the pool and friends to commiserate with about how bad life was, but what can one do about it? The apostle John doesn’t tell us why Jesus picked this particular man to heal, out of all the people at the pool. All we know is that Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed? You would think that the man would have said “Of course I want to be healed. Why else would I come to the healing pool every day? You think I enjoy being paralyzed?” But he didn’t. Instead of accepting healing, he started giving excuses of why he was still infirmed. The main one was that there was no one to help him get into the water when it rippled, so someone who had a helper got into the water, robbing him of his turn. That may well have been true,

but why didn’t the man ask Jesus to help him get into the pool? Instead it was excuses and feeling sorry for himself. Do we sometimes make excuses about why we have not improved our lives or volunteered to take on a role? “I’m not very good at being around sick people” or “I don’t speak very well. My spouse usually handles those details.” It is easier to make an excuse than to face the unknown. If the man had gotten healed, would he then be expected to get a job and earn money to help his family? He had not worked for 38 years; he was on disability. I have encountered patients who decline physical therapy or a new medication because they have become accustomed to a certain way of life. While it is uncomfortable, maybe even painful, it is what they know. Trying a new treatment causes anxiety, so they turn it down.

Jesus doesn’t even stretch out his hand to help the man into a standing position. Jesus knows there has to be an act on the part of the person healed to change his perspective. Jesus just stands there and commands the man to stand up and walk! To everyone’s amazement, the man does that. Ever the tidy one, Jesus says “Don’t forget to pick up your sleep mat!” Jesus gets into trouble for working (healing) on the Sabbath, a big no, no, but I’m more interested in the life and thinking of the paralyzed man. What would he do now? He never even got Jesus’ name to send a thank you note. If healing was not to occur on the Sabbath, why was the gate to the pool open in the first place? It says in John 5:14 that Jesus and the paralyzed man met later at the temple. Jesus told him that since he had been healed, he now needed to live a pure life. Instead, the man who had been healed told the temple magistrates that it wasn’t his fault if he got healed on the Sabbath; it was Jesus’ fault. Some people never take responsibility for life or rejoice in its gifts. It is easier to complain.

Lord, please help us to accept the grace and healing offered to us in Jesus’ name and do our part to step out in faith to a new life. Amen.

-- Dee Billops
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at prowley@stjohns-abq.org!

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
The Ramp Team building a ramp for Elaine on Saturday.
-- Pam
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. communicate@stjohns-abq.org
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.
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 mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.
Saturday, August 29 | 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Let’s rally together for the need of others! On Saturday, August 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the east parking lot of St. John’s United Methodist Church (2626 Arizona NE), the Missions’ Team will be collecting any of the following items for Silver Horizons and the Four Corners Ministry:

·     Any non-perishable food
·     Toilet paper
·     Paper towels
·     Facial tissues
·     Hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, men’s and women’s deodorants, toothpaste)
·     Bottled water

So, every time you go shopping this month or have products delivered to you, think about these two organizations and pick up some extra items. We’ll collect all these items on Saturday, August 29th!

If you’d rather give $$ instead of buying the products yourself, you can bring it that night, mail it to the church, or go to the St. John’s online giving. If you want the $$ split between the two organizations, write “Drive-in, Drop-off” in the memo field. If you’d rather it would go to an individual organization write either “Silver Horizons” or “Four Corners Ministry.”

The Missions’ Team thanks you so much for your generosity!!!
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: bit.ly/Fall2020UMYF (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 sonrisechoir@gmail.com!
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 tmacali@stjohns-abq.org 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.
This Zoom genealogy class is for people who have amassed a lot of family information and are wondering what to do next. It will not teach introductory genealogy or memoir writing. Some of the types of manuscripts to be considered include ancestral reports, descendancy reports, biographies, and edited letters or diaries. Each class will be one to two hours long, depending on the topic. Weekly assignments will be given, and in six weeks, students will have all of the major parts of a family-history manuscript and an abbreviated version of the content. The cost will be $10 per person, which will go to the UMW. A minimum of 6 people will be required for the class; a maximum of 12 Zoom connections will be accepted. A preliminary Zoom tutorial will be offered if needed. Check out the complete syllabus for topics and dates. Enroll by emailing Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or Terri Link at terrilink@comcast.net.
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, counselor@stjohns-abq.org, or 505-506-6716, if you have questions.
Congregational Care Corner
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 mapalook@comcast.net or 768-7013 if you would like a shawl. If you call, the basket will await your visit in their courtyard. Blessings -
Ruth Vermillion is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for August 17th through August 30th.

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

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 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 c.care@stjohns-abq.org

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. 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 stephenministry@stjohns-abq.org
  School at UNM will be starting soon in some form this year. It will be an stressful time for all students, so our opportunity to financially support Wesley House, for both the students who live there and those who participate in other Wesley Foundation programs is more important than ever.

 Please pray for the students and their leaders as they reach out to other students on campus as well. Please pray that Wesley House may be a place where all may find God's love and peace in these difficult times. 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 communicate@stjohns-abq.org