March 30, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

20March30 Message from Pastor Alessandri (click here for pdf)

March 30, 2020

The Peace of the Lord be with you!

Among the many things we may be learning from these last few weeks is 1) patience (or our need for it) and 2) when faced with the unexpected you do your best to make the best of it.
So I start with words of deep gratitude to Scott Rhodes, Mary Grabill and Mike Freeman who worked MANY hours to get the taping of Haven’s Sunday worship available for your viewing. As Scott wisely said, “Well, we learned something.”  I also thank you for your patience when we could not get the service up by our 9:30 am worship time. I hope you found another way to settle in the presence of the Lord and our Haven community Sunday morning. And, I hope you will be encouraged and uplifted whenever you get the chance to watch Haven worship.

My newest technological challenge this will be to lead a meeting of the Washington County Conference ministers on Zoom. Zoom is a way to have a group “meet” via their computers or phones. If folks have a camera on their phones or computers, the people in the meeting can see one another, too. Our DE-MD Synod is allowing the conferences to use their Zoom accounts to encourage us to stay in touch. And, they will help me learn how to use it. Onward into the 21st century I go.

Speaking of technological challenges….  When I turned on the new computer in my office for the first time last Saturday to find I had over 12,000 emails in my Outlook e-mail account. Yep, over 12,000. Emails from 2016 to present, including spam and previous deleted items. Yesterday I began sorting and deleting. I’m down to 8,000. When faced with the unexpected we do our best and practice patience — though it is not always easy. 🙂

For the unknown angels who see that the plants in the church narthex are watered, I want you to know I gave them big drinks yesterday. Only one was looking very sad, but I watered them all and thanked them for hanging in. How I look forward to the day when we can be together in that space, greeting one another, laughing, ministering to one another and moving into worship or coffee fellowship.

That day WILL come. Now, we are called to sit tight, protecting our health and the health of our community and pray. We pray for the police, fire and ambulance personnel, and all the people in health care who are in “harm’s way” for the sake of others. We pray for the many other workers — in grocery stores, take-out restaurants, delivery persons, truck drivers, those collecting our garbage, overseeing utilities and preparing on-line learning for their students. We pray for those in authority that they are guided by wisdom and what is good for the local, national and world communities. We pray that we are able to stay well and be beacons of God’s steadfast hope and love.

God’s peace IS with you,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

NOTES OF GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

P.S. Elaine Michael received the following link to a song. She found it inspirational, comforting and a God sighting. When she received the link, it carried this message:

This song is adapted from a prayer by Dietrich Bonheoffer. He wrote this prayer a few weeks before he was executed in April 1945, and sent it to his family as encouragement and a profession of faith. The corona virus gives the song a special resonance today.  Arthur Magida (Professor and Author)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN7dGz6NH5M&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0ZBcaa2JOuAMZbk7EDKtoSBR63lfRNo1n4fD5_JDLUomTtGVbqdRqiXHA

A PAUSE WITH GOD’S WORD

Read: Psalm 143: 7-11:
7Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
11For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

Reflection:  Psalm 143 is plea to God in time of crisis. It is a psalm attributed to David. We do not know if it’s about a trial in his personal life or one faced by the Hebrew nation. What we do know is that we can identify with it and we can pray it earnestly in our times. We can pray fully trusting God to hear, to be our refuge and to be at work, even now, to bring goodness, light and life where we might only see frightening unknowns.

Prayer/Act:  Pray Psalm 143: 7-11, pausing after each verse. Silently, aloud or on paper, add whatever comes into your heart and mind after each verse, lifting it to our listening Lord.

Music offering:
The first two are musical versions of the psalm. They each have refrains for you to sing along.
“To You, O God, I Lift Up My Soul”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WllurpdAepc
“To You, O Lord” (composed by Marty Haugen who also wrote Holden Evening Prayer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmxm9AJljY4