April 29, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

April 29, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

April 29, 2020

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
(He is risen, indeed! Alleluia)

My sister sent me this video yesterday.  It is about homecoming and pure joy. I hope you are able to open it. Get a tissue and see what you think.
(DOUBLE CLICK TO PLAY)

If you couldn’t get it open, I’ll tell you it was about four instances where a dog was reunited with its owner after a significant absence. In two cases, the time had been so long the dog is very hesitant until… like a light bulb goes off… they realize who it is and they are ecstatic.

Now, I don’t want you to think I am comparing myself to a dog or having any morbid thoughts, because I am not. But I do hope I will experience that overwhelming excitement and pure joy when I get to heaven, meet Jesus and reunite with my parents. In the meantime, we are fortunate enough to get glimmers of that kind of pure joy on this side of eternity.
Come on, now, think of those moments when you knew you were so blessed you had no words and maybe, only happy tears. Birth of a child… having your family all together for a special meal…wedding day… seeing a natural wonder [ex. whale jumping out of the water; Alaska landscape; Grand Canyon]….. an absolutely exquisite sunrise, sunset, starry sky or hovering hummingbird… a glorious morning… an array of blooming flowers… just the right song coming on the radio when you are driving on a picture perfect day… watching a good story of people doing good things to help and encourage one another during this pandemic. In those times, it seems as if there is only a slim film between heaven and earth and we get glimmers of the joy God wants for us.
These are challenging times when we are having difficulty remember what day it is. These are uneasy times as we live in many unknowns and we have no idea what life will be like when we can safely, gradually “re-open” and re-engage. When the Israelites were facing difficulties and trials, they were told to “Remember”…. Remember who is the LORD your God who delivered you from slavery in Egypt.  They were told to remember God’s faithfulness. Remember the past experiences of pure, marvelous, miraculous joy. Remember and trust in that same Lord, who created us and deeply desires for us to live in a peace and joy that circumstances cannot steal. Remember. Trust. Believe.

RED GERANIUMS FOR PENTECOST Cost: $3.85 each Deadline: May 11th
Please send orders to havenoffice@havenlc.org. Include your name; the number of plants you what to order; in whose memory or honor you wish to dedicate them; and the total amount you will mail in for payment. OR You may put this information and payment in an envelope and leave it in the offering box on the back porch of the parsonage. (It is checked daily) OR you may leave all the needed information in a phone message in Mary Grabill’s voice mail (301-733-5056; #1) and mail in your check.
If we are not holding worship of some variety on Pentecost, May 31st Pastor will deliver them and get to see your smiling faces. Deadline for orders: May 11th

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR A DIFFICULT TIME
April 29, 2020

American Folk Song
May heaven guard and keep you
Cause your grain to prosper
Send you nothing that is not good.
May you receive from Heaven a hundred boons,
May heaven send down to you
Blessings so many
That the day is not long enough
For them all.

Eastern Orthodox
Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day
With all that it shall bring.

As we grow weary of the thoughts and moments of fear and confinement let us pray for those who can only pray for the life we once lived.  Perhaps the trick is to love and treasure each other in this new reality: the reality of being physically separate.  May heaven send us each a hundred gifts of patience and connection, may we bear the fatigue of isolation…And challenge ourselves to find new ways and depths to connect to both solitude and each other.

Be with us Holy Source. Let us find the strength to live acceptingly…and generously and creatively.   Be our guide. Bless us with new insight and strength, Holy Source of our tomorrows.  Amen                                                                                      Reverend Valerie Wills
Co-coordinator of the Washington County Interfaith Coalition

 

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS
From Pam O’Connor
PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!!

Last week we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! It was also National Volunteers Week.  I have been thinking a lot about these 2 special days. One was started to make the World aware of environmental issues that face our world and the other is to recognize all volunteers who work tirelessly to help people, animals, and the environment.

We have been self-isolated for over 2 months now. The horror of this illness, the death and total impact on our lives has been immeasurable. Never in any of our lifetimes did we ever imagine that the world would come to a STOP! People are hungry, unemployed, short on necessary items, and dealing with various levels of loneliness. I pray every day that this too shall pass.

But here is the good news! The world is being reclaimed. Reclaimed through our oceans, our environment, our air quality, Air pollution in New Delhi, Bangkok, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles has practically disappeared. The waterways in Venice, Italy are running clear for the first time in many years. Animals are coming out from their “deep” cover to explore the empty streets of towns around the world. A young deer was seen rejoicing in the waves of an ocean. So many examples of life in this world without people pollution.

In just a few months, marvelous things are changing. God is reclaiming the Earth. How can we return to our “normal” life and re-poison what once was? I know in reality there will be a return of these things but perhaps in recognizing the impact we have made in the past few months, we will work harder to work with God to Make All Things New again.

From Charlotte Loveless, “God Whispers”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf_0jzPQ8lo&feature=youtu.be

From Craig Meredith “The Tenth Apple Effect” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32ectBThSFg

Be sure to enjoy one of the moments of sunshine. Remember…. Remember, you are loved eternally by the Lord of resurrection and life and nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Amen

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

A Pause with God’s Word

Read: Acts 2:42-47   (The first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Reflection (From Luther Seminary’s daily on-line devotion God Pause)

They shared all things in common.

My first thought in our new coronavirus world: “Ew!” These past months have forced many of us against our will to share much more in common with the people we live with than we ever have before. Sharing precious bandwidth with Xboxes, Zoom meetings, and Netflix. Sharing our snacks with a roommate’s ten hourly trips to the cupboard. Sharing our professional workspaces with our children’s pretend kitchens, police stations, and spaceports. Just as I assume it was in the early church, sharing can be challenging.

But then a second thought. Most importantly, we are sharing a purpose: to love and serve our neighbors by isolating in our homes.

In the early church, love looked like sharing resources, sharing bread, and sharing God’s word. Right now love looks like empty streets and empty pews. Because love is sharing our burden with the whole body of Christ.

Prayer:  Jesus, remind us that we are one body in you. Just as viruses do not discern any difference between us, neither does your love. We need it now. Amen.

Joe Natwick ’15 M.Div.
Associate Pastor at St John Lutheran Church, Dickinson, North Dakota

Music:
“Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” ELW #659  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryHm5ZLyFsc

“Son of God, Eternal Savior” ELW #655
(instrumental) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2ViAGlPSeo
(choral)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar36Iiv12lo

Thinking of the video with which I started this note, I immediate thought of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU0MwNpRq6M