This morning while we were walking, Art and I began talking about all the things that have changed over the last few months. We even began to wonder about which things will be changed forever. For just a moment I started to bemoan the whole situation. Then we paused for a moment and both realized all the gratitude that is on our hearts and how we want to focus on the good that is already coming out of these troubled times.

Some of that good has come from you in the form of cards, notes of encouragement, gifts of masks and other kind gestures. Thank you! Other good has come from watching and appreciating you continuing to be the church even though we’re not yet in our buildings – giving to mission projects, showing care to others, giving financially to our church, making plans for the future and so much more. Thank you!

Other good has come from learnings during this time, even if some of those were reluctantly achieved. Like, I’ve learned more about technology than I ever anticipated. I’ve learned to use all sorts of new things – recording for worship and Facebook, trying new approaches for memorial services as well as other special occasions, connecting with people via Zoom and on and on.

I’ve also begun to learn much about the struggles and challenges of people of color by participating in webinars, reading and listening to others who want to learn together. God is working in me and I see God’s work in others, opening our hearts to learn, grow and serve.

Through all this, we continue to live out the St. Mark’s mission statement: Changing the world through Christ by caring for all people.

This Sunday in worship we begin a new series named “Called to Serve,” as part of our 2020 theme, “Words for Life.” On 7/12, the word “Mission” will be our focus – Jesus’ mission, the ways we carry out mission, and importantly, looking at the mission of our own lives. Join me for worship at 9:45 a.m. at umcstmarks.org/live-worship, on St. Mark’s Facebook, or on YouTube at UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley.

My heart is full of gratitude for the life that Jesus offers me, you and all of us together.