Note from Pastor Alessandri March 20, 2020

 

March 20, 2020

The peace of the Lord be with you!

It’s Friday. Even if you have been staying home, it has been exhausting, hasn’t it? Keeping up on the rapidly changing news; trying to get our heads around conditions and information that challenge our understanding of “usual ” and our human desire for control; dealing with our feelings of wanting to make the best of the time at home but often thwarted with this sense of restless because we are so use to being able to come and go as we please; for some, there has been the juggling of work and children home from school.  Extrovert or introvert, Democrat or Republican, younger or elder,  economically comfortable or living paycheck to paycheck, living alone or with others — we are in this together and we each are wrestling with feelings and worries that could draw us into despair or panic.

Here is where faith comes in. No matter the circumstances, this truth remains: we are directly, unequivocally, forever children of God. We are loved, held, cherished and in the heart of an almighty and compassionate God. Even when we don’t understand, God is good and faithful.  (Check out Romans 8: 31-35, 37-39) NOTHING can separate us from our Lord who is greater than anything in this world, even the coronavirus. Take heart. Stand strong.

Yes, it’s been a long week. Unless there is urgent news, I will take a break tomorrow from my daily writing to have some Sabbath time. Mary’s “office hours” will be over for the week at 1 pm today. Please know I am still available by phone if you need me!

I ask you, too, to plan for a sabbath time of worship with the Body of Christ this Sunday. We will post two different options for worshiping at home this Sunday. 1) We will post a bulletin for Service of the Word that I have prepared for use at your home and 2) you will find a link and directions below for accessing a worship service prepared by our DE-MD Synod that can be accessed through Facebook or YouTube. Give the Lord the weariness, fears and worry as you worship. Trust that the Lord hears, cares and will give you and us the strength we need to make it through and, even now, to be the Body of Christ for each other and our neighbor.

Below is a brief devotional offering. I pray it blesses your day.

God IS with you,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

DE-MD SYNOD WORSHIP LINK

To join the DE-MD Synod worship on Sunday morning, you can visit the DE-MD Synod Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DelawareMarylandSynod/), YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS7Ybv7zZqMFsYe3Vt5t0Lg), or the COVID-19 Response page on our website (https://demdsynod.org/covid-19/).
On Facebook, you can scroll down until you see the video that has a red “LIVE” button in the corner, or you can click “Videos” in the left hand column, where the “LIVE” button will also appear. On YouTube and the website, the video will be near the top of the screen, though you may have to scroll a little bit to see it. The bulletin for the service is found on the COVID-19 Response page linked above, to the left of the video for that day’s worship. You can also see the text of the hymns below the video on that page.

P.S. I read this suggestion today. Call a member of the church after worship and have your own coffee fellowship time. There is nothing that unites us more than sharing worship and the Word.

P.P.S Want a bit of inspiration? Watch this youth presentation of Casting Crowns’ song, “Whom Am I?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyPm7n_pXW8

A Pause with God’s Word

Read John 9: 1-41 It is the gospel for the fourth Sunday of Lent. Even if you read it yesterday, read it again. Read it aloud and put some real feelings in the words of different speakers.

Reflection  From Barbara Brown Taylor:” The Pharisees were so sure of everything — that God did not work on the sabbath, that Moses was God’s only spokesman, that anyone born blind had to be a sinner and ditto for anyone who broke the sabbath, that God did not work through sinners, that God did not work on sinners and that furthermore no one could teach them anything.
Their system was a closed one and it worked. It closed Jesus out and it closed them in — not in outer darkness this time, but in inner darkness — because they let their fear of being wrong keep them from being in the light. The formerly blind man, meanwhile, was looking right at it. ‘Lord, I believe,’ he said when he laid eyes on Jesus at last. And he worship him.
[Every time this gospel comes around,] we get to try out for a different part. We may even get to add one: the dazzled witness who says, ‘Praise God, will you look at that!’ while everyone else is playing 20 questions. Because wonder, not suspicion, is the beginning of worship, and seeing is believing only if we are willing to believe.”  (“Willing to Believe” Christian Century March 6, 1996 p. 259)

For Your Reflection: When have you seen God’s goodness at work in ways and times or through people you might have thought unlikely or impossible?  What wonders have led you to worship God?

Prayer: We often think we know how you will act, Lord, and who you would consider worthy. It can blind us to your presence and to your extraordinary or simple miracles. Help us to keep our eyes, ears and mind open to your unexpected or unexplainable grace at work around us and in our own lives. And when we see your gracious hands at work, let us be a witness who says, “Praise God, will you look at that!” Amen.