July 21, 2020

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2: 4-5)

It’s curious that the two linked items in metaphoric comparisons mostly AREN’T like each other. For instance, our principal metaphor today is ‘My God is a Rock,’ but God and rocks don’t resemble each other in most aspects. Rocks can’t create, love, bless, etc., but that actually helps us to focus on the aspects that link the two: strength, stability, and durability.

Over and over scripture speaks of God as the rock of Israel, our fortress, shield, or refuge, a place of both safety and salvation. God hides Moses in a cleft of rock, and Jesus tells us that the wise man builds his house on the rock of faith and that the church is built on Peter Rock. Big rocks are called mountains and lift us to heaven where we can meet God and get special revelations such as the Ten Commandments (written to last on stone tablets) or where the disciples see Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mt. Ararat was the resting place for Noah’s ark after the Great Flood. Psalm 36 reminds us that God’s righteousness is like the mighty mountains. Stones are built up to form altars for worship, eventually culminating in the great stone temple built on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, Mt. Zion still a central holy site for three religions. The importance of worship is symbolized by the precious stones in the temple as well as those in the breastplate of the priests. Stones are placed geographically to help us find our way marking paths and boundaries as well as to establish memorials, such as when Joshua crosses the Jordan to the Promised Land or Samuel raises his Ebenezer, a stone marking a great victory.

The Bible also uses stone imagery in a negative way. False idols are often carved of stones and are to be destroyed. The temple was made of stone, but so was the Tower of Babel. Stones can be used as weapons, both punishing sinners in Leviticus and used against God’s prophets including Stephen and Paul. Faces of disobedience are called harder than rocks. Although we are promised angels to lift us up so we don’t strike our feet against stones, that scripture is used Satan to tempt Jesus. God and God’s teaching can be a stumbling stone for those who are

disobedient, such as those trusting in their own works according to Paul. But then Jesus is quoted in Matthew as saying that stones will crush those who don’t produce fruit. The power of rock, then, is used in the sense of judgment as well as safety.

A more subtle message in scripture is that in reality God is stronger than any stone, more durable than any mountain. He can make water flow from a rock, destroy the stone temple and build up a spiritual temple founded on the rejected cornerstone of His Son. Stones can seal tombs as with Daniel, Lazarus, and Jesus, but then the stones are rolled away and life remerges. If we don’t praise God, even the stones will cry out. Our hearts of stone, Ezekiel promises, will be replaced by hearts of flesh and according to Paul a letter from God will be written on those beating hearts. Jesus promised the woman at the well that she will worship the Father not on a mountain but in spirit and truth. Isaiah asks us to look to the rock from which we were hewn (the Patriarchs), and Peter in the quote at the beginning of this meditation describes how we are to be living stones built into spiritual houses, which is a good description of the church.

In summary, our faith should be like our God: rock-like. Our lives of sacrifice and service should be offered to God as on an altar of stone. We should look upon the challenges of life as mountains to climb to become closer to God. Scripture passages are the boundary markers of our lives, showing us the path. And no barrier, even a tomb of rock, is stronger than God.

Do we go to God our Rock in times of danger? What other security do we really have that will endure? What are our stumbling stones in being disciples of Christ? Can we feel the hammer of God’s grace chipping away at our hearts of stone? Can we claim the promise that the stone sealing the tomb of death will be rolled away?

-- Jack Nuzum
Jean Jorgensen is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for July 20th – August 2nd. 

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, please hold Jean tight in your embrace so that she can be stronger than the challenges in her life.”
Joyous News:
Attached is a photo of our newest family member. Lyra Quest Seal joined us last Friday at 3:05 pm. Weighing in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces, she and mom (my oldest daughter Ella) are doing fine. This gives us three generations with a July 17 birthday: Lyra (granddaughter courtesy of oldest daughter Ella), David Sullivan (son-in-law to be courtesy of youngest daughter Anastasia), and myself.

Best to one and all and stay healthy!

-- Mark Dodd
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! communicate@stjohns-abq.org
-- 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 prowley@stjohns-abq.org!
Wednesdays | 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).
Saturday, July 25 | 7:00 pm
Rev. Dr. Randall Partin
Come and worship in your car on Saturday, July 25 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.
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.
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!

Sundays | 4:00 - 5:15 pm
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: bit.ly/Summer2020UMYF (case sensitive) password if needed is 233374. NEW SUMMER URL
Wednesdays | 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 tmacali@stjohns-abq.org for more information!
Thursdays | 1:30 pm
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
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.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? Point 3b: God wants to give you abundant life.
St. John’s email Bible study returns to our study of salvation, and in particular to the idea that God’s plan for your salvation is broader than you think. Although there’s nothing in the Bible about “prosperity gospel,” scripture does say that God’s plan for your salvation includes a desire that you be healthy, safe, and comfortable and that you enjoy life in constant relationship with him.  Download the study guide, or sign up for daily study tips by email by writing or calling Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or 294-2877.
Congregational Care Corner
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

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.

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: swimsew@comcast.net or (505) 884-6626 or Jenn Shields: jennshields200@yahoo.com or (505) 450-9978.
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 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: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at communicate@stjohns-abq.org