This morning I woke up thinking about all that’s challenged us in 2020. I felt a tightness in my neck and a gnawing in my stomach as I thought about this year – continually learning new things about technology, trying to make wise decisions about dealing personally and as a church with the pandemic, paying attention to the struggles of people throughout our country, making our way through a contentious election, and watching people and businesses just trying to stay afloat during these times. Then I thought about how easy it is to become irritated and negative and lash out at others and even be too harsh on oneself.

Then a word of hope came to me and I began to ponder it and cling to it – compassion. As I did that the kind words and gestures of people started coming over me and I decided to focus on those. I thought about Jesus pouring out his healing power on those who clamored after him, extending a hand to those who couldn’t walk, bringing sight to the blind, and so much more. I decided to let the compassion of Jesus roll over me, praying my way into his healing love.

For the last several years, we pastors have held monthly chapel services for the children and staff of our Early Childhood Center. This is one of the things we’ve been unable to do this fall, which I’ve greatly missed. As I was pondering this morning, I remembered one of the songs we teach the children: “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.” I realized that these things – peace, joy, love – are an outpouring of God’s compassion on me and on all of us.

As followers of Jesus, we have the chance to extend this compassion to others, especially in these challenging times. Today I ask you, “What one thing will you do today to extend Jesus’ compassionate love to someone else?”

This Sunday, Nov. 15, as part of “Words of Hope,” we talk about “Compassion.” Join us at 9:45 a.m. here at, or on St. Mark’s Facebook or at YouTube, UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley.

Today I’m accepting Jesus’ compassionate love for me and offering it to you, too.


P.S. On Sunday evening, Nov. 15, watch for an email inviting you to register for in-person outdoor worship on our west patio at 9 a.m. on Nov. 22. If the service fills up, call the church office at 297-2062 and ask to be on the waiting list.