For now, we are planning to continue to offer in-person outdoor worship on our west patio in December. Beginning Dec. 6, outdoor worship will begin at 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m. On Sunday evening, Nov. 29, you will receive an email with a registration link for Dec. 6. Up to 40 people may register. Registration is required.

“I sure hope so.” “I don’t feel hopeful anymore.” “We’re filled with hope.” It’s easy to see the common word in these phrases. On the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, our worship series “Our Deepest Gifts” begins with the word “Hope.” From the phrases above you see the different ways we use the word “hope.” Pay attention over the next couple of days to how many times and in what contexts you use that word. On Nov. 29, I’ll take us deeper with that word, into the very heart of it as we think together about what “hope” means for us today.

Art and I were just talking about news from this week. Without thinking that I was using the word “hope” I said, “It seems like people are feeling hopeful about the coming of a vaccine (for COVID).” Every day, though, I hear stories of people struggling with job loss or personal finances who are beginning to feel “hopeless.” You probably know someone who could benefit from joining our worship here on our website, umcstmarks.org/live-worship, St. Mark’s Tucson on Facebook or YouTube UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley. Be sure to invite them.

Here is a word of prayer: Gracious God, we await the coming of Christ into our hearts and lives once more this Christmas. Help us turn from sorrow and anxiety and toward you, seeking the hope and peace that you long to give us. Heal those who are sick and watch over those who care for them. Comfort those who mourn. Strengthen all of us, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.