We’re using the word “connecting” a lot this year. Maybe we’ll get tired of it, but I think it’s an important word, and the theme Connecting to God and One Another is important too. Staying close to God—being aware of God’s presence and love, praying, worshiping—gives us the strength and desire to connect in love to others.

I met John McCain once. I’m only mentioning that here because I met him at our church.  A few years ago, he held a Town Hall meeting in our Fellowship Hall. I thought he should hold it in the Sanctuary where there is more room, but he wanted it in a smaller space, with no microphone, because he wanted to be in the middle of the people. People came, and the space became overcrowded, with people spilling into the hallway and outside. It was tense, mostly because it was crowded, but Senator McCain stood in front of people, answering questions, listening, debating a little. Not everyone agreed with him, but he was gracious and respectful, and clear and firm in his answers. I didn’t agree with him on everything, but when it was over I realized he had connected with the people, shown leadership and was intent on service to the people. I’m very grateful for his leadership and service, and offer prayers of comfort for his family and loved ones.

Because St. Mark’s is a strong church, with many gifted people and resources, we need to show leadership and service in the world, in Jesus’ name. We serve because our faith calls us to do so. That’s why we’re lifting up in worship Connecting God and the World— the Church in Mission over these weeks. We’re looking at the ways we’re serving in the world, as Jesus said, “whenever you do these things (visit, care, heal, give) for the least who are members of my family, you do it for me.” Our faith pushes us into leadership and service in the world.

This Sunday, September 2, we’re going to visit—in video and story—our ministries in Agua Prieta, which began at least 15 years ago when women from our church took sewing machines to the needy women across the border at Douglas, into Agua Prieta and taught the women to sew things they could wear and sell. Many others went to serve, too. We’ll hear some of the story of the Methodist Church there, and how our church and Desert Southwest Conference serves and leads, in Jesus’ name.

Blessings, Sharon