August 7, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

August 7, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri(pdf)

August 7, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church

As you look at the weather forecast and your weekend plans, remember Haven has three weekend options for worship.
Friday 5 p.m.  Spoken service in the sanctuary
(masks and social distancing required)
Sunday 9:30 a.m.   On-line Worship premieres at 9:30 am on
(and can be viewed any time after that.)
Sunday 9:30 a.m.  Drive-up and Outdoor Worship at Haven

OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM TRINITY LUTHERAN (HAGERSTOWN) WILL BE JOINING US THIS SUNDAY. They are unable to use their sanctuary this Sunday after a Saturday wedding. What a joy to have them come worship with us!  Bring your good humor and patience as we adapt to having more folks and cars this Sunday. God WILL be worshipped and all WILL be blessed. (P.S. We will also be blessed by Pastor Bruce Barth who will preach God’s Word!)










The Church is not closed
Thanks be to God for your ongoing witness and ministry! Lutheran Disaster Response has been active in helping us be the church in perilous times on our synod’s territory.  We have over 50 ministries feeding our neighbors in these and all times of need.  Through a $35,000 grant we received from the ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response COVID Response Funds we were able to support 19 congregations and Lutheran Community Services of Delaware.  Over the last 10 weeks, these ministries have served 20,077 folks, yes, many of them multiple days of the week, to ensure they have food to eat. Over 475 volunteers have provided 2,823 hours and have lived out what it means to do God’s Work with Our Hands. Of course these LDR funds are just some of the generous funds that support all this work across our synod and we are grateful. Here are just a few stories of how these incredible and tireless ministries are accompanying our neighbor:
Amazing Grace Baltimore, through its Center for Grace-Full Living is addressing the needs of McElderry Park in East Baltimore. Since the pandemic, their food ministry has grown exponentially as needs have become more pronounced and extra funds are helping them address more of these needs. The food pantry has moved from serving 20-35 families to now serving well over 400 families and the soup kitchen has gone from serving 180 neighbors lunch once a week serving over 300 twice a week.
Joy Reigns Edgewater used the funds to support both their baby pantry and a Friday family food ministry.  Every first Saturday of the month the baby pantry is open but in July the first Saturday was July 4th. The volunteers are so dedicated they were determined to be open that day because babies don’t stop needing diapers for a holiday. In addition, when COVID hit, Joy Reigns stepped up to partner with the local elementary school through the social worker to do a no contact COVID precaution deliver a bag of weekend meals to 36 food insecure families’ homes.
St Paul’s Aberdeen sent the entire grant and additional funds to support their local homeless shelter. During the quarantine, the shelter residents have been housed in a local hotel and these funds assist in that expense and cover the cost of one day of food for each person.
This Church is not closed!

With my love and prayers,




BIG BROTHER BIG SISTER BOWL (BBBS) FOR KIDS RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 27, 2020  Haven has sponsored a team three different times… always having a good time. This year COVID required the April event to be cancelled. But now there are three options available for us to participate to support this important mentoring program for our community’s kids. Would anyone like to come bowl with me on September 27 OR a day of our choosing? Look over the precautions they have set in place and the other options. If you would like to participate, please let me know ASAP. You can send an e-mail to the church office or directly to me

  1. Traditional Bowl for Kids’ Sake Participation

Raise money with your team and schedule a time to bowl on September 27, 2020, between 11AM-5PM.

We will be implementing safety and health precautions that include the following:

  • Check-in for bowling teams will take place outside Turner’s Dual Lanes, where distancing and crowd reduction can be maintained.
  • All guests will be asked to wear masks, at least until they arrive at their assigned lane. At that point, wearing a mask, or not, will be left up to team members.
  • Bowling balls and shoes will be sanitized for teams.
  • Bowling teams will be distanced with at least one vacant lane between them and another team.
  • Door prizes will be given throughout the day.
  • Hot dogs and sodas will be available outside following the event.
  1. Forego the 9/27/20 Event & Individually Schedule Bowling at Turner’s Dual Lanes

Raise money with your team and schedule a time to bowl between 9/1/20-9/27/20.

This is a good option for those who enjoy bowling for a great cause but want to avoid a group event.

  1. Forego Bowling at Turner’s Dual Lanes but Still Raise Money for BBBS’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake

Those raising at least $30 will receive an event t-shirt and the opportunity to stop by Turner’s Dual Lanes on 9/27/20 for a hotdog and soda outside.



Read  Mathew 14: 22-33
22[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds.23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Reflection  (Today’s Reflection and Prayer was prepared by Pastor David Kaplan)

It was a dark and stormy night, a perfect setting, shrouded in mystery, for the events this Gospel reading narrates.  The story follows on the heels of last week’s Gospel where Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 – or rather he gave food to his disciples so that they could feed a crowd of 5,000 and thus fulfill his commission to them: You give them something to eat.  Meal ended, leftovers gathered, he dismissed the crowd and dismissed his friends – sent them off on a pilgrimage across the choppy lake in a small boat.

For Jesus it was time alone in deep prayer with the Father.  On the mountain, like Elijah in the first reading, perhaps struggling with where his mission would take him from here, perhaps just needing solitary time of silence to listen and share, perhaps giving thanks for the ministry of the day, he entered into that deep fellowship of prayer which every now and then we’re given the grace to experience for a few fleeting moments.  And then it was time for him to leave the intimacy with the Father and rejoin his disciples.  Instead of walking around the waters of the lake, he chose the short cut – walking on them!

Meanwhile disciples were having struggles of their own in the midst of those waters: the boat, battered by the waves, was far from land, for the wind was against them. Straining to keep it afloat and roughly on course, they scarcely noticed a figure approaching them from the dark, brooding tempest.  Suddenly one of them must have caught a glimpse: “Look, out there!  What is it?”  Another responded in terror, “It is a ghost!”  All were filled with fear until they heard a familiar, reassuring voice, “Take heart, it is I (literally, I am); do not be afraid.”  In the shorter version of the story (Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21) the disciples then received Jesus on board, the winds ceased, and they soon arrived at their destination.

Matthew’s Gospel, however, here inserts another story, which becomes the central focus of the whole reading.   From the boat Peter impulsively cried out, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  To which Jesus calmly responded, “Come.”  And he did – for one bright, shining moment Peter started walking on the water headed straight toward Jesus!  But – such a critical but – he looked around, noticed the wind and the waves – what in the world am I doing?  This can’t be happening!  Suddenly it all came splashing down, and Peter began to sink.  “Lord save me!”  Jesus immediately extended his hands, pulled him up and gently chided, “Little faith one, why did you doubt?”  Both got back on board the boat, and the story ends as in the other versions, with one other slight addition: all in the boat then worshiped him confessing, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

So what does Matthew want his readers to understand from this remarkable little insert story?  It’s tempting and easy (and in preaching I’ve done it once or twice) to view the story as a lost opportunity.  If only…if only Peter had kept his eyes on Jesus, he wouldn’t have sunk.  So we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus rather than the winds that assail us.  Stay focused on him and the tasks he gives us, and we’ll stay upright.  While that’s perfectly true, there’s much more to this story than a misplaced focus.

Perhaps the place to begin is the obvious: it’s a story about Peter, a story of his impulsiveness, his faith and courage, his flawed humanity, his desperate need for Jesus.  In that respect it’s similar to and a foreshadowing of another story about Peter where he displays identical traits: “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you” …Then all the disciples deserted and fled…but Peter was following at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end…A servant girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus.”  But he denied it before all of them, “I do not know what you are talking about” …Another servant-girl saw him and said, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  Again he denied it with an oath…after a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.  Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!”  At that moment the cock crowed.  Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly.  But where were Jesus’ hands in that story to lift sinking Peter?  Same place they were in the sea story: reaching out – only this time from a cross.  And where’s that confession of the disciples at the end of the story?  Same words exactly (except in the third person) only now on the lips of a Roman centurion, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

So if the story is a pointer to the Passion of Jesus and Peter’s little (but by no means lacking) faith through it all, it might also become a mirror for those of us who in any sense identify with Peter.  It is for me anyway.  Sometimes impulsively, sometimes because the Church pushes me in new directions, sometimes out of a genuine faith commitment, I dare to get out of the boat to follow Jesus along an unfamiliar path (haven’t tried a water path yet!).  And yes, I know I need to keep focused on where he is leading, keep my eyes fixed on him; but inevitably it seems I begin to notice winds blowing COVID in a dark night of civil unrest, bitter divisions in our culture, a still aching hip and frustration at not being able to do what I’d like to do, and yes at times de facto denial of the faith I hold so dear.  But the story doesn’t demand that I shape up, only that somehow in the midst of all the winds and waves that surround me, I stay aware of the one who is out in this storm with me.  When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.  His hands extended from the cross, from his word, from his meal, from this very story reach out to lift up and embrace this little-faith child of his – and you too – that together we may confess and praise him who truly is the Son of God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when our most noble efforts to follow you faithfully end in fear and frustration, reach out with your saving love to uphold and renew and restore us.  Amen.


Pastor Kaplan suggests

What Wondrous Love Is This, ELW 666 (St. Olaf Choir)

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, ELW 755

Eternal Father, Strong to Save, ELW 756