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, Dec. 6, you will receive an email with a registration link for Dec. 13. Up to 40 people may register. Registration is required.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you … ,” says Jesus to his followers. What is peace like for you? For our community and our world? In many places in Scripture, God offers a vision of peace for our lives and our world. This Sunday, Dec. 6, in worship I’ll share some personal reflections in word and song about “Peace,” which is the theme for the second Sunday of Advent as part of our series “Our Deepest Gifts.” During Advent, look on Facebook (St. Mark’s UMC, Tucson) or Instagram (umcstmarks) at 8 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a very short message from one of the pastors about the Advent theme for that week. Let others know about this, too.

I know it is hard to feel peaceful during this strange and challenging time. We are bombarded with information and stories about the pandemic, transition in state and national government, divisions in our country and much more. I’ve often said that we can be selective about what we listen to, watch and read, including on social media, and I reiterate that caution for these times. Seek accurate information so we and our communities can be healthy, safe and strong.

During Advent, Art and I are enjoying sitting by our Christmas tree in the mornings, reading, working and watching the lights on the tree. It is a time of peace for me before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. I’m basking in that gift of peace right now and offer it to you, too, in the prayer at the end of this message.

Speaking of prayer, our daughter, Julie has her fourth chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer today. She has done pretty well with the treatments and we continue to welcome your prayers for her and for our family as we support her. By the end of today she will be 1/3 of the way through this phase of chemo.

A prayer: Come and fill our hearts with your peace, O God. Sometimes we think of peace as an absence of war, but it can be battles within us that trouble us very much. Soothe our tired hearts and prepare us to receive the blessings of Christ at Christmas. Help us always look to you for our comfort, relief and strength. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


P. S. Don’t forget to look for the journey of wise men, as they make their way around our campus this Advent. Find them during the Gathering music in recorded worship on Dec. 6. Where are they?