August 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

August 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

August 19, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church

SIGHT AND SOUND’S JONAH THIS FRIDAY AT 8:00 p.m. There will be a broadcast of “Jonah” from Sight & Sound this coming Friday, August 21, at 8:00 p.m. on the TBN channel (97 on Antietam Cable; 272 on Direct TV).  Streaming August 21 -23.  Thanks, Elaine Michael, for letting us know.

I was visited by a Disinfecting Angel. I found a case of Clorox wipes and three large bottles of Germ-X on the parsonage back porch on Sunday. We have been trying to hunt down the Clorox wipes for ages. We’ve also been scrambling to find hand sanitizer that isn’t too sticky or, quite literally, “stinks.” Whoever you are, thank you, thank you, thank you!                  Pastor Alessandri

I am grateful & joyful to have all the school supplies delivered  to Fountaindale Elementary, Northern Middle & Western Heights Middle schools of this morning! Hallelujah!

It has been quite a process, but we were so blessed to have such a generous response from the congregation and a marvelous team to work with (Pastor Alessandri, Marge Cunningham, Clare Newcomer, Scott Rhodes, Susan Strobl , Kelly Bracken & myself). Mark from Staples went out of his way to be helpful in obtaining the supplies we ordered & we really appreciated Ed Distad’s strong back & dolly to help us deliver the heavy boxes to the schools.
Now 168 students can begin the school year with the supplies they will need for at-home learning.

There is still a lot of good & love & generosity in this world & in our community!
Elaine Michael

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith prayers for our times August 19 , 2020

Catholic (Therese of Lusiex):

My life is an instant,

A fleeting hour.

My life is a moment which swiftly escapes me

O my God, you know that on earth

I have only today to love you.


In the beginning was God,

Today is God.

Tomorrow will be God.

That word! It is no more,

It is past, and still it lives!

So is God

Each moment is a living moment of truth.

You who are the presence of Holiness, accompany our days that seem to move too swiftly and at the same time are dragging by.  Bless us with the holy grace to give in to Love.  Protect us from our feelings of impatience and helplessness, and lead us on a shared journey toward the hope for hope.

We pray this of that Divine Wind which reaches into all life with patience and faith.  Be with us in the Moment of our daily re-beginning we pray. May holy faith light up our every moment. Amen

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition

A NEW ADDITION TO THE CHURCH NARTHEX We now have hand sanitizer stations at each of our church entry ways. Stick your hand under the dispenser and you get some hand sanitizer on your hands. (Not sticky or stinky!) Whenever you come into the church, please use the dispenser. It is one small way we can continue to battle Covid and provide a safe, healthy place for worship.















HAVEN SCHOOL SUPPLIES DELIVERED MONDAY, AUGUST 17  Elaine Michael and Ed Distad delivered school supplies to Fountaindale, Northern Middle and Western Heights Middle schools.  They were accepted with great appreciation. Top left, Northern Middle school. Top right, Fountaindale Elementary. Lower picture, Western Heights Middle school















Read   Romans 12: 1-8

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Which part of this reading caught your attention? In a Bible Study I could imagine a variety of answers and it would be interesting to hear the reason that verse, phrase or word seems significant to him or her today. That is one way to open God’s Word. Put aside any “scholarly” concerns and let the Spirit lead you to a verse, phrase or word that you are invited to ponder more deeply. Then you just get curious — Why am I drawn to that particular verse or phrase? What is going on in my life, the church or world that may be making this verse or phrase important? You then wander around those questions with God during the day and see what you might learn about the Lord, the gospel, yourself.

I am drawn to verse 2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” When Paul speaks of “the world,” he is not speaking of God’s good creation. Paul is pointing to the societies, empires, self-serving values that humans have created which distort, deny or destroy what God intended for the creation, its people and creatures.  Paul is warning us not to be lured and conformed to those things that are contrary to God’s ways. Things like greed, cruelty, hatred, love of money, power or prestige over persons, racism, demeaning others to promote yourself, indifference to the needs and hurts of others. We are tempted because we are human and like our comforts, the approval of others and we like it “our way.”  Our eyes and lives move from God to other idols.

Instead, Paul instructs, “by the mercies of God” (verse 1) be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Whether you have been attending church all your life, periodically or recently, we are not to be the same people we started out to be. After hearing the gospel, learning from Jesus, receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism, being a part of the Body of Christ, receiving the Lord in holy communion and having the Holy Spirit reach into our lives in Word, prayer, community and “Godsightings,” — we are to be different, inching toward what God created us to be — loving and living more like Christ. Notice that I said it is “by the mercies of God.” It is not by our more excellent efforts or character, it’s God working in us that shapes and transformed us. Yes, I think you can try to be open and aware to the ways God is trying to speak, teach and transform us. Yet, it is still God’s grace that makes it possible.

I think I am attracted to these verses right now for several reasons. As a Christian, I ask myself how have I been changed by following Jesus, studying scripture, being part of a church, trying to love my neighbor and neighborhood, attending worship and receiving the Eucharist? As a pastor, I ask if what I preach, write, say and do on God’s behalf has been/is useful to the Lord’s transforming efforts.  As a member of a church and a citizen of  this nation,  I pray we will find the wisdom St. Paul mentions at the end of verse 2, “so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

How has the Lord transformed you? How is the Lord transforming you? In what ways might the Lord be seeking to transform us and our church in a pandemic and in such a turbulent politically charged time? These questions have me thinking and praying. How about you?

Renew my mind, O Lord, that I may “see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day.” (Lyrics from “Day by Day” in the musical Godspell)


“Renew My Mind” (Kim Hill)

“Take My Life”

“We Are One Body”

“We Are the Body of Christ'”