December 11, 2020
Some info and a few thoughts:
.Due to the rising number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in Pima County, we have suspended outdoor in-person worship as of Dec. 13. We hope to resume outdoor worship in the future.
.If you are planning to stop by to hear Kathy Narney play Christmas music on her harp in the Meditation Gardens between 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, wear a mask and plan to stay for a short time (no more than 30 minutes). You can walk the labyrinth or the Way of the Cross, or just stand in the garden area to hear the music.
.See below for info about our Christmas Eve worship services.
.Worship continues to be offered at 9:45 a.m. Sundays on our website, umcstmarks.org/live-worship; YouTube UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley; and Facebook St. Mark’s UMC, Tucson.
The last few days I’ve truly felt like we’re in Advent, the season of preparation, waiting and longing for Christ to come. We’ve been very occupied with recording and preparing for Sunday and Christmas Eve worship, for the Musical Christmas celebration at 3 p.m. Dec. 20, and for the “Our Deepest Gifts” segments that post at 8 a.m. MWF on Facebook and Instagram @umcstmarks. This upcoming week (Dec. 14-18) you can hear me talk about “Joy.”
This Sunday, Dec. 13, is the third Sunday of Advent. We light the pink candle of “joy.” I’ll be sharing some thoughts in worship about joy and how to live into it even during these scary and challenging times.
I’ve become increasingly aware of the heartache and sadness that is accompanying this season for some of you. I’ve felt those emotions myself as I realize how different Christmas will be this year – no big family gathering, no in-person worship services, little or no traveling. In addition, we’ve had people in our congregation diagnosed and suffering with COVID, along with some of their family members, and two deaths of members. Others have passed away over these last weeks, too, and in this time it is difficult to have memorial services for them. We’ve had some small services in the Memorial Gardens and long for the day when we can have large celebrations in the Sanctuary once again.
Whew … I stop to take a breath and realize how grateful I am for life and breath. In my morning devotions I am stopped by the words “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come into his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100) I stop and listen to God’s singing in my heart and am lifted up. Today I will let God put joy upon my heart and hear words of hope, “You are my beloved one.”