August 12, 2020

“If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139: 9-12

Light and dark imagery are pervasive in the Bible. Last time we dealt with some clear divisions where the imagery of darkness represented ignorance and sin on the one hand, and fear and despair on the other. Countering those are the images of the light of understanding about the ways of God, and the light of eternal life promised by God and fulfilled in Jesus the Christ. This time, let’s look at the ambiguous mingling of light and dark in scripture, which, I think, accurately hint at the complexity of both God and life on earth.

The first words out of God’s mouth in Genesis 1 are “Let there be light!” But God creates light out of the mysterious dark waters of chaos and then separates the day from the night thereby creating markers for time. We talked about the light of God’s commandments, but they were given to Moses on the mountain of God wrapped in dark clouds. Yet, the Psalmist also describes God wrapped in light like a garment (104:2). Lightning is used throughout scripture as both illumination and threat. We looked at all the revelations of God at night in dreams. A comparable occasion is God’s people imprisoned in dark dungeons yet being sprung by angels of light (Peter) or singing through the night like Paul and Silas, which leads to the light of salvation for the jailer and his family. Another interesting combination is the pillar of fire that leads the children of Israel in the wilderness by night, and the dark pillar of cloud that leads them by day. The Jewish Sabbath starts at dusk and emerges into the day. Paul reminds us that the dark angel, Satan, disguises himself as an angel of light. As the beginning quote of this devotion reveals, God is not to be limited but is both revealed and concealed, awesome and intimate.

The light/dark imagery is especially striking in the prophetic message of the coming Day of the Lord, which became associated with the coming Messiah and was appropriated by the New Testament writers as describing Jesus’ Second Coming. The Day of the Lord is mostly described as a ferocious time of judgment and the imagery is scary: the sun will become dark, the moon not shed its light, a time of wrath. Similarly dark imagery is used in the New Testament to describe Jesus’ crucifixion and then the last days when even the stars will fall. So, how are these scenes of judgment part of God’s salvation plan? Both the prophets and Jesus give us hints. Daniel says that God “reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness , and light dwells with him” (2:22) Daniel is talking about interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to extend the verse to mean the examination of our motivations, often lost to our own awareness. Jesus talks about hidden motivations in the Sermon on the Mount when he sheds light on how violence comes from anger or adultery from lust in the heart. Part of judgment is realizing, often painfully, what we are really up to. A neat parallel from the prophets comes from Amos, who calls the Day of Lord a time of darkness (5:18), but then Hosea pronounces that “my judgment goes forth as the light.” (6:5) The Psalmist (90:8) talks positively about God’s revealing our secret sins. Jesus talks about healthy eyes that are the lamp of the body (awareness?) and bring light, versus unhealthy eyes (willful ignorance?) that bring darkness. It’s hard to put a positive spin on judgment especially when we are under scrutiny. But how else do we wake up to what we are doing and thinking? If we stay in darkness, then the pit of Sheol from the Old Testament becomes the pit of hell in the New Testament. And hell may not just be a place, but a state of mind, a place we can inhabit any time or place. So, an aspect of God’s grace, revealed by these Day of the Lord passages, is judgment, which leads to repentance, which leads back to the light of God’s path. Eventually, in the New Jerusalem described in Revelation, there will be no more night or need of lights, for God will be our light.

We see the light (whether insight or hope) often in contrast to the dark (ignorance, guilt). Can we feel God’s presence in both the dark and the light? Do we pray for light even if it reveals secret corners of our lives that we’d rather not visit?!

-- Jack Nuzum
Wednesday August 12 | 9:00 am & 7:00 pm (there are two services that are the same: choose which one fits your schedule)

Where: on the West side of St John’s, the gate will be opened

Details: Please wear a mask. There will be hand sanitizer available on site. Please practice social distancing. You will be given wildflower seeds to plant (no need to bring your own). The service will last about 20-30 minutes. No bathroom access will be available at St John’s. Thanks to our St John’s CLM’s Larry Luna and Joe Marshall for helping lead us.

Thanks to Children’s Ministry Director Therese Macali for including and inviting children and families!

Thanks to St John’s Garden Group: Donna Bruce, Tim Nuzum, Therese Macali, Katie Hallstrom, Kelly Giese for taking part in guiding this ministry to fruition!
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
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.
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 or Terri Link 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
Saturday, August 15 | 7:30 am

Mountain Cathedrals “Corrales Acequias and Bosque Preserve” a reflection on Psalm 104

This month, we walk on land “set aside” near the Rio Grande River. In 2016, the Audubon New Mexico declared the Corrales Bosque to be an important avian habitat to over 250 species of birds, where 662 acres on the west side of the river host protections for owls, hummingbirds, sparrows, crows and Cooper’s hawks. Psalm 104 comes to mind, a place where…

“the trees of the Lord are watered abundantly… in them the birds build their nests…”

As Christians, we are called to be holy, to be “set aside” for God and in service to God. Through our service to God we are invited into relationship with God, with our neighbors, and with creation. In this way, we are all connected to the goodness of God’s creation.

So this is your invitation, to step into God’s restoring grace-giving presence, as beloved children, to walk into a creation that is God’s place of renewal and wonder. An invitation to practice the means of grace, sharing communion, reflecting on scripture, and walking in prayer… in God’s creation… or as Charles Wesley wrote an invitation to become “lost in wonder, love and praise”.

“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures… they all look to you…
when you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.”

Join us Saturday, August 15th, 7:30 am at St John’s east parking lot. We will then travel to Corrales (but not carpool). San Ysidro Catholic Church (5015 Corrales Road) has allowed us to park in their lot, which is adjacent to the acequia. If you meet us in Corrales, please arrive by 8:00. We should be back to the cars by noon. The hike is level and roughly five miles. Do remember to bring a mask, snacks/lunch, sun protection and ample water.

Peace and grace,
Mike Furnish and Kelly Giese
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!!!
God waving goodnight. 
-- Norm Falk
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.
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.
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
The passing of Dick Donavan
St John’s heard this week that one of our long-time members, Dick Donovan, passed on to glory on August 7th. Dick and Marilyn joined St. John’s back in 1972. He was 89. Please pray for the family in the wake of his passing.
Stacie, John and Jack Ross are the recipients for the prayer quilt on display for August 3rd - 16th.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, we pray for safe travels and new adventures as Stacie, John and Jack embark on this new phase of their lives."

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
  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