March 2, 2021

(Note from Jack: There are more biblical Magnificent Metaphors to explore, but I want to pivot to a related topic of archetypal characters. Archetypes are simply universal types. Each of us is at once a unique individual and also just like countless other humans as we live out the roles of Father or Mother, Leader or Follower, or in the terms of spiritual types: Sage, Lover, Prophet, Mystic. I would like to explore some of these universal types through scripture since I have found it deepens my experience of living to see how my life reflects the experience of so many others. For the sake of brevity, I’ll mention several biblical examples of each type but then focus on one Old Testament and one New Testament example.)

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 12-14)

Everything seems to start with a story: “Once upon a time…” or “In the beginning…” or “I remember once when…” or “A stranger came to town…”! The foundational story of every culture is the Quest, where a hero or heroine emerges, usually out of obscurity, is called to action, resists the call, consults an advisor, acquires a companion, engages the adversary, is seriously wounded, withdraws, re-engages, defeats the enemy, and returns with the treasure. This plot line fits most dramas. We like movies or novels if the story hits most of these points but with just enough creative twists to make it new again. (And here is the kicker: we all write the story of our own lives in these same terms!) I would love to take every main character in the Bible and walk you through the Hero’s Quest (try it with Abraham or Joseph or Ruth or Esther or David.) I’ll do it here with Moses and Paul (Jesus will get his own devotion at the end of the series.)

Moses emerges out of obscurity, barely saved from death by the cleverness of his Hebrew mother and sister enslaved in Egypt. A man of two cultures, his first call to action is when he sees a fellow Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian guard, whom he kills. He withdraws as this isn’t the proper course of action. His real call comes dramatically in the desert from a supernatural burning bush. He is called to return to Egypt and free his people. He resists the call with excuse after excuse, but God won’t let him off. He acquires a companion, his brother Aaron, and engages the enemy, the Pharaoh of Egypt. With the guidance and power of God, he frees the people and leads them into the wilderness. There he is rejected by his own followers, who constantly complain about his leadership. Upset by their complaints, God nearly wipes the whole group out. The ungrateful lot are saved by the pleas of their rejected intercessor, who begs God to stay faithful. Moses then retreats to the mountain top facing the might and overwhelming glory of the Lord God alone and emerges with the great treasure of the Hebrew people: the Law. (Exodus 1-20)

We meet Paul in scripture in the background of the stoning of Stephen holding the stoners’ cloaks. He goes off on the wrong path of persecuting the young Christian movement, but then is called to action by a dramatic experience on the road to Damascus, where he is confronted with the voice of Jesus and blinded for three days. He spends years in study and comes back as an evangelist for the Jesus he persecuted. He gathers older advisors like Barnabas and younger companions like Timothy. He suffers unbelievably (read 2 Cor. 11) and is rejected by both traditional Jews and many of the Jewish Christians. He spends all sorts of time in jail, where he uses the enforced leisure to bring forth the earliest treasures of the New Testament, his epistles.

It is not by chance that the story of these brave heroes follows a pattern. All of us at some point are called by God, often hesitate, get advice and companionship, face opposition, suffer, either re-engage or give up, and through our wounds, we are made stronger and heal others. Can you see the biblical pattern of the wounded hero in your own life?

Dear Lord, help us hear Your call in the various seasons of our lives. Help us to find the guidance, summon the courage, persevere through the hardships, and bring forth the treasures of your grace.

-- Jack Nuzum
Each Lenten season, as a church community, we focus on a spiritual practice together. Many of us have our individual disciplines and practices for Lent, but it is very meaningful to have a spiritual practice that we are all nurturing and developing. In the past few years, we have engaged in Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, Sabbath rest, the examen, and other spiritual endeavors. This Lent, we will practice Visio Divina. Each week, we will take the sermon text from Sunday, picking an image, painting, or photograph that we might find in a book or through Googling that scripture. Here are the steps for Visio Divina:

  • Matthew 8:23-27
  • Look at the image you have found of the miracle of the changing of water to wine, and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see.
  • Keep your attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye.
  • Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that part of the image for a minute or so.
  • Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the photograph or painting. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.

Consider the following questions:
  • What emotions and feelings does this image evoke in you?
  • What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
  • Meditate on these thoughts.
  • How does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? Let the prayer take form in you. Write it down if you desire.
  • Offer your prayer to God in a final time of silence.
  • Journal any thoughts or prayers that came to mind in heart during the practice.
IMPORTANT SURVEY -- Please Participate
As the St. John's Leadership Team is discerning timeline and protocols for reopening, we really need your feedback! Please complete THIS BRIEF SURVEY by Friday, March 6.

And if you missed today's virtual town hall meeting, you can view it below:
I wanted to thank everyone for their amazing support of my food drive with a special thank you to Jarrod Conyers and Shea Perry. I was able to donate almost 700lbs of food to the Roadrunner Food Bank. They were very appreciative especially since the need for donations has increased due to the pandemic. I was able to complete my project and earn the Girl Scout's Silver award. I feel grateful to be apart of such a supportive church.
Thursday, March 4 | 10:00 am
"St. John's Food and Garden Ministry" will be the topic of our upcoming Zoom meeting of United Methodist Women on Thursday, March 4th. Chef Tim and Regina Hampton will present the program, and, with Spring quickly approaching, we can expect to get the latest updates emerging from this ever-growing St. John's ministry. The program begins at 10:00 am, and, as always, everyone is invited to attend. To receive the Zoom invitation, please contact Regina at hamptonmason1@msn.com.
Friday, March 5 | 9:30 am
Church Women United, an ecumenical Christian women’s gathering, will be holding a World Day of Prayer service on Friday, March 5th via Zoom. The service is written by the women of Vanuatu (a tropical archipelago in the South Pacific) with the theme, “Build on a Strong Foundation” where land is not viewed as a thing to be owned, but as vital to the existence of humans and animals in sustaining their livelihood. You are invited to join us at 9:30 a.m. for checking in with one another over coffee, tea, cocoa. The program will begin at 10:00. A Zoom link will be sent out a day or two before. If you would like to be included, please contact Marilyn Stoops at mstoops@swcp.com or call 265-8358.
Saturday, March 6 | 9:00 am
Plan to join us on Saturday, March 6th, at 9 a.m. via Zoom, as Dee Dee Heffner leads us in our Conference-wide UMW Spiritual Retreat entitled, "Into the Light". Among other activities, Dee Dee will help us explore Biblical themes of light that shine a light on Deaconesses and Home Missioners who "share the light" of Jesus through their wide variety of ministries. The retreat will consist of breakout sessions, and attendees will receive an email, asking them to have several items available during the Zoom event. There is no fee to attend, but a registration form must be submitted no later than March 3rd, in order to receive the Zoom invitation. To receive a registration form by mail or email, please contact Mary Beth Spletzer at 508-4829 or mbspletzer@gmail.com. We hope you'll join us for "Into the Light"!
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 our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastor Pam 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.

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom link is HERE
Mondays, February 22 - March 29 | 7:00 pm
Weekly Lenten Zoom Study, based on the book Wind in the Wilderness: A Lenten study from the Prophets (D. J. del Rosario; available from Cokesbury). Tuesdays at 7 PM, led by our Certified Lay Ministers, beginning Feb. 16th. The chapters: Building a skyscraper, Sticks and stones, Worst baby names ever, Nine words that changed everything, Present in the waiting, A taste of the good life, and If a tree falls in the woods... . The first chapter raises interesting questions about when we find ourselves in a deep hole as the Israelites did during the Exile and how the experience changes us, drawing on texts from Isaiah 9 and 53. It goes from there. There are daily Scripture readings as well. To register please contact Michael Furnish (mdfurnish@comcast.net ). We are exploring continuing this after Easter with Adam Hamilton’s The Walk, led by Joe Marshall, CLM.
“What is special about being a Methodist?” “What is going on at St. John’s?” “Where do I fit in?”

These are key questions that newcomers ask about our church and we are having a Zoom orientation class to discuss the answers. Visitors and new members are the primary focus for the class, but those who have been around awhile are invited to reorient and re-energize themselves by entering the discussion. It's a great place to get to know others at St. John's as well.

  The class will take place four Thursday evenings at 7 PM. The first class will start Thursday, March 4, 2021, and we’ll end on Thursday, March 25. We will meet on Zoom to get acquainted and discuss the topics (our Christian faith, Methodism, St. John’s, where's my place.)

  To register for the class and for any questions, contact Jack and Carol Nuzum at 265-5241 or jcnuzum@juno.com.
Debra Syme (friend of Jean Jones) is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for February 23 - March 8.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Merciful Father, please hold Debra tight in your embrace as she faces medical challenges in her life. Show her your mercy, relieve her fears and anxieties and grant her a quiet mind and an expectant heart. Amen”
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
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