Fire and Hope

My puppet, Flynn the firefighter, joined me twice this week for “Who’s With Me Tonight?”* at 7 p.m. on St. Mark’s Facebook. On Monday, Flynn and I talked about how some things like fire are both good and can be destructive. We saw how God was in the midst of both of those, working to bring good out of difficult things. Flynn came back on Wednesday night, wrapped in a St. Mark’s prayer shawl, because he was completely worn out from fighting the Bighorn fire. This gave us the chance to talk about how to assist and support those who are helping nowadays, including firefighters, caregivers, teachers, health care workers, people who remind us about loving our neighbor and many more. We said we could thank them, pray and do simple and loving acts of kindness for them.

Since Wednesday, the Bighorn fire in the northwest mountains of Tucson has continued to grow, threatening homes, animals and people. Some people are being evacuated and others are ready to do that. So now our prayer of thanks for those working the fires, as well as for all affected, becomes even more earnest. I’ll share that prayer in a moment.

This Sunday, June 14, I’ll share a message in worship called “How Are We?” and give you some information about how we’re doing at St. Mark’s and reflect on the ways grief is present in our lives right now and how God is helping us. Join us at 9:45 a.m. on, on St. Mark’s Facebook, or on YouTube at UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley. Our buildings remain closed for in-person gatherings, but our church is open!

Be sure you look for an email message from our Lay Leaders (Brenda Hunter, John Cecilia, Don Booth) on Thursdays as they give an update on the St. Mark’s COVID-19 response and share results of our recent survey. Their first message came out on Thursday, June 11.

On Friday and Saturday, June 12-13, Pastor Stuart and I, along with lay delegates from our church, will be attending a virtual meeting of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, the annual business meeting of our conference. At this meeting, we expect that Pastor Stuart will be commissioned as an elder in the United Methodist Church, an important step toward ordination. We celebrate with him!

Here is our prayer: Gracious God, today we look across the Tucson sky and see smoke from fires. We smell the smoke and are reminded of those who are working to put out this big fire and those whose homes and lives are endangered by it. We bring all this to you, God, and ask that you keep people, animals and property safe. Guard those who are fighting fires and return them safely to their families. We bring all our anxieties, sorrows and uncertainties to you and ask that you cover us over with your love, peace and assurance that you are in the midst of everything, bringing hope and healing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

P.S. If you need housing because of the fires or can provide housing, leave a message at the church office (297-2062) or email or
*“Who’s With Me Tonight?” is a 10-minute time of devotion and prayer, with puppets, at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday on St. Mark’s Facebook. You do not have to have a Facebook account to join us – just go to the St. Mark’s Facebook page.