April Haven Messenger (Newsletter)

Haven Messenger Newsletter April 2021 (pdf)

March 23, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

March 23, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

March 23, 2021

John Britton, III (“Tripper” to some) graduated from South University in Richmond, VA. on March 19th.  He graduated with high honors and received a Master of Science in Physician Assistant studies.   He was also awarded and inducted into the Pi Alpha National Honor Society, The National Honor Society for Physician Assistants.  Send your congratulations to:

John Britton III, P.A.  4001 Gaelic Lane Apt. F  Glen Allen, VA 23060-6427

 

 

 

GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

WE HAD 39 IN THE CHURCH ON SUNDAY  Some were there for the first time since we needed to shut down last year. It was exciting. As more people have been vaccinated, more feel they can take a step out and into the church. We are still following safety guidelines — masks, six feet social distancing and hand sanitizers in the pew and entrances. Last year we grieved that we could not have Easter Sunday worship in the church. This year we can celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and the slow but steady unfolding of our lives and community.

GOD SQUAD EXPLORERS   This week the God Explorer’s crew learned about the Holy Spirit and we just couldn’t resist tying this into learning about St. Patrick and how he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity.  The boys loved learning that Patrick was likely around 16 years old when he was captured (“Grammy- it was like he was captured by Pirates”) and then God came to him in a dream about escaping (which he did), and then another dream telling him to go back, where he heard “Holy Boy come back to us.” (Grammy- whoa wait a minute–he went back even though he was captured and treated really mean?). Great lesson about courage and faith!  James Paul, Quill, and Roark were riveted to watching a documentary that showed a re-enactment with teenage boys.  We then make shamrocks and as you can see, James Paul made his look like a cross with his buttons and we talked about how buttons hold things tightly together…. just like the Trinity is tightly held together as 3 in 1.  AND the icing on the St Patrick cake, was the shamrock cookies delivered by none other than the Pastor!!
Jamie Cannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Newkirk came back home Monday evening… Susie Resh was
anticipating Dave Resh to be home by Tuesday, too.  Keep them in prayer.

 

 

COME ON SPRING     

We had s sunny, warmer weekend and it just brings Springtime hope. Remember to marvel at the flowers coming up, the buds on trees and bird songs. It led me to remember the picture to the left that I had found a while back with this little one eyeing up a morsel before taking a nibble.  How amazing is God’s creation and that we get share and marvel in it. Thank you, Lord.

 

 

 

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

DAILY DEVOTIONS

Spend time in God’s Word and listening to what the Lord has to say to you today.
Each of the recommendations below are brief but they will give you and your faith nourishment and an entry to prayer. God IS with you!

2021 Lenten Devotional

The Word in Season (available at Haven)

On-line, go to https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/  You could check it each day or sign up to have it sent to your e-mail box each day.

March 21, 2021 Sermon & Announcements

March 21, 2021 Sermon

Announcements ~ March 21, 2021

A:        Return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart.
C:        Return to the LORD who is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
                         (Joel 2: 12, 13)


Sisters and Brothers in Christ, welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran. We gather joyfully knowing the presence of our Lord is steadfast and sure.

*The April newsletter will be available next weekend in the church narthex AND at Haven’s website. Be sure to view a copy and get the correct times for Holy Week and Easter services.

*We conclude our livestream Midweek Lenten worship this Wednesday at 7:00 pm. Enjoy the prayerful peacefulness of Holden Evening Prayer and hear a brief meditation on Living into our Baptismal Promises. There are copies of Holden Evening Prayer available in the narthex and on the parsonage back porch. Take a break and feed your faith each Wednesday of Lent.

*Good News for our roofing project capital campaign. The $5000 matching funds have been matched!! In fact, to date, we have had $17,670 donated toward our $100,000 loan. Thank you to all who have sent in donations. The Capital campaign committee met last week and you will get an invitation to participate in our faith-raising campaign the week after Easter. This is something Haven is good at —-Working together and for the glory of God’s mission.

Next Sunday is Palm and Passion Sunday. We will have palms available here at church and on the back porch of the parsonage for all who would like them. We will also livestream Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship services. Make plans to participate in Holy Week. You will find Easter to be even more meaningful.

This week’s concerns and joys:

*Best wishes to Brenda Hassinger, Ken Tice, and Charlie Huguenin who celebrate birthdays this week.                                          

(after the announcements)

A:        Now, we prepare ourselves for worship as we listen to the prelude.

March 21, 2021 – Worship Bulletin, Responses and Worship Information

Responses Bulletin 03212021 (pdf)                                          Bulletin 03212021 (pdf)

WORSHIP SERVICE IN-PERSON & FACEBOOK LIVE

Sunday mornings at 9:30 am

Worship Service with Communion in person in the church sanctuary

(social distancing and masks required)

Worship Service LIVE on the Haven Facebook page

Starting around 2 p.m. on Fridays, you can pick up a bulletin, hymnal and communion sets on the parsonage back porch.  For extra precaution, use hand sanitizer before opening cartons/boxes. Keep the hymnal at your home for future use. The baggie of communion elements are enough for one person so please take one for each person watching at your home. (Haven Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Haven-Lutheran-Church-134647913268366 or you can get to the page by clicking the ‘F’ icon in the upper right corner (center of page if on a mobile device) of the Haven website www.havenlc.org The live service will remain on the page for viewing later too.  If you are not familiar with Facebook please scroll down past the ads, map and photos until you see Haven Lutheran Church with a small circle of the church photo in a post. It will say ‘Haven Lutheran Church is live’ Sunday at 9:30am. This will be the first post Haven will have that day. If you have issues please email the church office or call and leave a message and I will try to get back with you so I can walk you through how to find it.)

If you plan to attend the in-person worship service Sunday morning at 9:30 am in the sanctuary, please remember to bring your mask and continue to social distance. Please follow the directions of the ushers and diagrams in the narthex.  We need to be very conscientious of following advised and good practices to protect ourselves and others from COVID. We will gather together cautiously and carefully, seeking to be fed and upheld by time with our Lord and a community of believers in worship. Thank you.

March 7, 2021 Sermon & Announcements

March 7, 2021 Sermon – Lent 3

Announcements ~ March 7, 2021

A:        Return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart.
C:        Return to the LORD who is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
                         (Joel 2: 12, 13)

Sisters and Brothers in Christ, welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran. We gather joyfully knowing the presence of our Lord is steadfast and sure.

 

*Flower orders for Easter are due TODAY. Directions for leaving your order are in your bulletin. There are empty envelopes in the narthex if you need one for your order.

 

*We ask everyone who is worshipping here at the church to PLEASE take several sets of offering envelopes to deliver to their owners. Present them in person or leave them in a bag on a door handle. The offering envelopes are in the narthex. It would save us a good deal of postage if you could help deliver them. Thank you.

 

*The March newsletter is available in the church narthex AND at Haven’s website. Be sure to view a copy.

 

*On the Wednesdays of Lent we are livestreaming a midweek worship service at 7:00 pm. We are using the Holden Evening Prayer and adding a brief meditation on Living into our Baptismal Promises. There are still copies of Holden Evening Prayer available in the narthex and on the parsonage back porch. Take a break and feed your faith each Wednesday of Lent.

 

*For you who are worshiping at home, please remember that there are hymnals, bulletins and blessed communion elements available to you at the parsonage back porch. Whether you are a member, friend or guest, we want you to be able to fully participate and enjoy worship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s concerns and joys:

*We thank everyone who helped to make last week’s Annual Congregational Meeting a quorum and productive, too.

 

*Best wishes to Jennifer Yaraghi and Candance Reynolds who have birthdays this week.

 

                                                      

(after the announcements)

A:        Now, we prepare ourselves for worship as we listen to the prelude.

March 14, 2021 Sermon & Announcements

March 14, 2021 Sermon

Announcements ~ March14, 2021


A:        Return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart.
C:        Return to the LORD who is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
                         (Joel 2: 12, 13)

Sisters and Brothers in Christ, welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran. We gather joyfully knowing the presence of our Lord is steadfast and sure, even when we lost an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings Time. J

 

*We thank everyone here at church who delivered sets of offering envelopes to their owners last week. We are down to ONLY FIVE SETS! Could you please help us save postage again and deliver a set to a member? Thank you so much.

*The March newsletter is available in the church narthex AND at Haven’s website. Be sure to view a copy. Announcements and Notes for the April newsletter are due THIS week. We want to get the April newsletter out early since Holy Week and Easter are on the first days of that month.

*We continue our Wednesday Lenten worship at 7:00 pm which is livestreamed on Facebook. Come enjoy the peacefulness of Holden Evening Prayer and hear a brief meditation on Living into our Baptismal Promises. There are copies of Holden Evening Prayer available in the narthex and on the parsonage back porch. Take a break and feed your faith each Wednesday of Lent.

*After meeting with the participating contractors, we are glad to announce that work on our roof project will likely begin the week after Easter! We can also announce that we have received $2,070 toward the $5,000 matching monies. That means there is still $2, 930 of matching funds waiting for your donation. Other ways to support the project will soon be publicized by our Raise and Praise Capital Campaign committee. To God be the glory as we care for God’s mission outpost here at Haven.

This week’s concerns and joys:

*Best wishes to Cliff Britton, Kristen Schupp, Janice Merique, Cindy Rhodes, Valerie Wills and Inez Winebrenner who celebrate birthdays this week.                                                      

(after the announcements)

A:        Now, we prepare ourselves for worship as we listen to the prelude.

March 18, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

March 18, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

March 18, 2021

KEEP THE PRAYERS COMING
Nancy Newkirk had surgery on her “new” knee on Wednesday. They think they caught an infection early. They did a thorough cleaning and left the knee appliance. Nancy will likely need to do antibiotic infusions again at here home when she is released. Nancy may need to have meals delivered for a while that agree with her diabetic guidelines. We’ll let you know if that is the case.

Dave Resh came through his surgery at Mercy Hospital yesterdsay. He didn’t get out of recovery until late, so Susie wasn’t able to see him but did get to talk to him on the phone. He seemed to be doing well.

Jean Carbaugh’s husband, Fritz, has been at the DC VA Hospital for 23 days. The seperation has been difficult on them both. The Latest news is that Fritz will be transferred to the Martinsburg VA Hospital today. Still no visitors, Jean said, “But at least I could get some personal/comfort items to him.  Right now all he has is a pair of shoes and his cell phone.”

GOOD NEWS…WE’VE MET THE $5000 MATCHING FUND CHALLENGE FOR THE ROOF PROJECT.  Wow, in three weeks, $6, 120 was donated toward the roof project. When you add the $5000 matching fund, that’s $11,120. Is that not amazing? Add the $6550 that had been donated before we announced the matching fund and we’ve collected $17,670 toward our $100,000 loan. Wow! We are on our way.
Many thanks to those who have sent in contributions. The Debt Reduction Campaign team met on Wednesday. Look for more information in the upcoming April newsletter and in a letter that should come to your home the week after Easter. “Blessed to be a blessing,” is the joyful anthem of grateful children of God. Let’s keep singing!

 

HAVEN’S E-MESSAGES MAY BE WINDING DOWN   When we had to shut-down and quarantine one year ago, it was important to keep us connected. Not worshiping together and seeing one another during coffee fellowship was tough. Not knowing how long or where COVID-19 was taking us was hard. We were in unchartered waters. Science and medicine learning in real time and we tried to keep up with the evolving information. Adding anxiety and complexity were the competing sources telling people it was a hoax, precautions unnecessary and protecting our individual preferences was more important. Haven’s E-Message became a way to provide prayer, encouragement and the evolving information from the CDC, Maryland and the DE-MD Synod to help us all navigate the pandemic and ground our trust and faith in our unshakable, faithful Lord.

We’ve gradually moved the number of days we have sent out the E-Message to two. As we move toward Holy Week and the gradual unfolding of renewed life in this pandemic, I’m going to reduce the content of the E-Message. For now, I need to shift my attention to preparing Holy Week Worship that will be livestreamed and our first Easter back in the sanctuary since COVID-19 appeared in our lives. After Easter, I am hoping, as more and more are vaccinated, that I will be able to shift some time back to visits with our homebound members and those in nursing homes.

To reduce the prep time for the E-Message, I’m am going to discontinue the devotional PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD. While it is of greatest importance that we remain in God’s Word each day, I think there are other available devotional resources that can provide good, daily grounding in our Lord’s Word.

First, there is the printed resource we provide quarterly, entitled The Word in Season. The current issue for April, May and June is available in the church narthex and on the parsonage back porch. Second, I commend to you Luther Seminary’s God Pause, which I had sometimes used in our E-Message. You can access God Pause at https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/. To make it even easier, at that same site, you can subscribe to God Pause and it will be delivered to your e-mail box each day.

For now, I will continue to include birthdays, anniversaries and prayer request updates. I will pass on any new developments here at Haven, with our roof project, and the DE-MD Synod. I will include other news we receive from the Hagerstown community. I will still include GRATITUDES AND GODSIGHTINGS, photos from members and our God Squad Explorers and the very popular “Because We Need to Laugh.” So please continue to send me your experiences of gratitude and God sightings, humorous items and inspiring pictures or stories.

I do give thanks for each of you. I give thanks for all that you have done to help one another during this very difficult time. I give thanks for where the Lord will lead us. Confident of God’s steadfast love and presence, we can live as a grateful people who know the Lord is with us and ahead of us.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
Linda M Alessandri

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD
Read  John 12: 20-32
20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Reflection         Reflection and Prayer prepared by the Rev. David Kaplan

We wish to see Jesus.  We wish to see him in his nearer presence when we arrive at the fullness of his kingdom, but we also wish to see him in the joy and sorrow, the gloom and the gleam, the celebrations and pandemics that fill our lives at this time.  We wish to see Jesus always, and we’re not the only ones.  This coming Sunday’s Gospel, written above, begins with a conversation between Jesus’ disciple Philip and some Greeks who believed in the Lord God of Israel and had come to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover festival during the first Holy Week.  Their wish was the same as ours: Sir, we wish to see Jesus.  Philip shared their request with Andrew and together they informed Jesus.

If we weren’t familiar with the story or hadn’t just read it, we might expect Jesus, full of compassion for all people, to respond to the request of these foreigners something like this: I will come and see them.  Instead, his reply seemed to have nothing to do with their request:  The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified… unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Suddenly what appeared to be a simple matter of meeting with outsiders for an hour or so, maybe sharing lunch, teaching them more fully about the God who so loved the whole world was in reality the signal for Jesus that the time of his passion had come.  The hour had arrived for him to be glorified, to be lifted up from the earth, not just at Easter or Ascension, but more immediately on a cross.

What a painful moment it was!  In his humanness Jesus declared, now is my soul troubled.  Can we even begin to imagine the depths of the struggle that raged inside of him?  Why not escape while there still a few precious moments left?  Why not pray, Father save me?  No, for this reason he had come to this hour.

But couldn’t they, couldn’t we see Jesus apart from the suffering of crucifixion?  Couldn’t they have that simple lunch meeting?  Couldn’t we just jump from Palm Sunday hosannas to Easter alleluias without Good Friday cries of agony and abandonment?  The answer of Jesus in this story, the answer of the New Testament as a whole is a decisive NO.  To see Jesus in the deepest sense of the word, to understand most clearly who he is, what he came to do, and how he embodies most fully the height and depth of God’s love for this fallen world is to see him stretched out in the pangs of death, sacrificing himself without holding back a shred, body given and blood shed to seal the new covenant of the first reading’s promise.

The image Jesus used to describe his passion, however, involves none of this heady theological language.  It’s simply that of a seed ready to be sown, so familiar to his first listeners, eager to plant their crops as soon as they returned home from their Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  That same tiny image is just as familiar to us, eager to plant gardens after a cold and snowy winter.  I only need to go to my kitchen drawer to see an envelope with perhaps 20 butternut squash seeds carefully gathered from the vegetable of my last homemade pie.  You may also have seed packets somewhere around your house.  The problem is the seeds will produce nothing as long as they’re simply lying in the packet.  As Jesus pointed out, they need to be planted in the ground.  Not quite warm enough yet with a threat of frost through April, but we’ll soon be able to dig furrows in window boxes, backyards and (yes, Amy!) in Haven’s back forty.  As we see tender sprouts poke through the surface of the well weeded and wetted earth, we may pause in wonder and thanksgiving at the God sighting before us: out of tiny seeds emerge new plant life soon to spread over the entire garden (especially spaghetti squash!) and bear much fruit (or many vegetables).  In our momentary reflection, though, let’s not forget the critical point that Jesus was making: it’s not just a matter of planting seeds in the ground, and a week later plants spring up; in some sense between the planting and the springing the seeds must die: unless a grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies it bears much fruit. 

Just so, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried… On the third day he arose again… put down and lifted up to fulfill God’s saving plan for us, to drive out (same word we had a few weeks ago in Mark’s Gospel to denote Jesus casting out demons) the ruler of this world, and to draw all people to himself.  Now those Greeks could have their wish granted, not just for a brief get-together, but for all time and forever.  Now we can see Jesus as he truly is, not just as teacher, healer, companion, comforter, but as the Lord who died and is alive to bring us close to himself and to all who wish to see him for all time and forever.

To see Jesus in this way, in the setting of suffering, cross and resurrection; of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (what the Church calls the Triduum, the Three Days) is much more than a visual exercise.  It’s a call to follow and serve and in some way to let go of our lives: whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am there will my servant be also.  For most of us that doesn’t come easily; it’s a long process with lots of slips.  But the good news is that Jesus is always there along the way to pick us up when we stumble and fall; his word and meal each week assure us of his sustaining presence with us, and the disciplines of Lent – prayer, fasting and works of love – help us stay on course.  The Spirit keeps directing and often redirecting us.  And we have an abundance of examples, brothers and sisters who have seen Jesus and followed faithfully and courageously.  In her sermons this week Pastor has shared two powerful stories of ordinary people who have given themselves in amazing ways: Steve the “tough guy” in Brother Michael’s Catechism Class who accomplished 350 pushups, ten at a time to the point of collapsing, so that every student could have a doughnut, whether he or she wanted it or not; and the Black String Triage Ensemble (Living Lutheran, Jan.-Feb., 2021) who come like first responders to situations of violence in Milwaukee to bring the comfort of music in the midst of crisis.  Yesterday was St. Patrick Day, which is not really about snakes, leprechauns or green beer, but a bold bishop and missionary who spread the Gospel among pagan tribes in Ireland and other places in Northern Europe.  Thankfully, we don’t have to be a tough athlete, a skilled musician or a daring missionary to give our lives in following our Lord.  Ample opportunities abound at Haven including the garden option mentioned above, where the produce grown helps hunger needs in the community and around the world.  And that too is where we see Jesus clearly – in the face of our neighbor in need.

Prayer: O God, your Son chose the path that led to pain before joy and the cross before glory.  Plant his cross in our hearts, so that in in its power and love we may come at last to joy and glory, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  (Prayer for Monday in Holy Week, ELW, p. 30)

Hymns:
Pastor Kaplan’s Suggestions:

Seed That in Earth is Dying (ELW 330) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwLT3LJIHQQ

There in God’s Garden (ELW 342) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxrKn2EbtKk

What Wondrous Love Is This (ELW 666) (St. Olaf Choir) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsVnvN3EVxY

As the Winter Days Grow Longer (ACS 924)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShdnMHJtIlo

March 16, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

March 16, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

March 16, 2021

“Prayer of St. Francis
(Virtual Choir) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8GWp2NcjV4

“Hymn of St. Patrick”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBnCjDcDMKo

“Song of St. Patrick” (Marty Haugen) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpWiCJqx7jM

“An Irish Blessing” (traditional) several choirs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvN10detZtg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXduNT6QWBk

“May the Road Rise – A New Dawn” (a collaboration of Irish artists)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOazQ9xTOqs

TIME FOR A CHANGE  I will be going back to Tuesday as my day off starting next week. I had changed to Saturdays as we navigated the pandemic and different patterns for our worship, communications and other needed activities. It seems a good time to move back to Tuesdays. Now I need to remember that when folks are scheduling meetings.
Haven has always been very considerate about honoring my days off so I can have the time to renew and get some of those necessary chores done. I thank you.

NEWEST EDITION OF THE DEVOTIONAL THE WORD IN SEASON (April – June) is now available in the church lobby OR on the parsonage back porch.

PRAYERS  for Nancy Newkirk going to Baltimore on today to have a possible infection in her knee checked out…. Dave Resh who had his procedure at Mercy Hospital rescheduled for this Wednesday…. and others awaiting test results. Lord, hear our prayer.

Washington County Interfaith Coalition

Interfaith Prayers for Our Times

March 16, 20 21

James Dillet Freeman  (Christian)

The light of God surrounds me;

The love of God enfolds me;

The power of God protects me

The presence of God watches over me.

Wherever I am, God is.

Hinduism (The Vedas)

We sing thy praises.

We will now and evermore sing the praises

Even as they were sung of old.

For thy laws are immutable,

O God: they are firm like the

Mountains.

Bearer of Hope, You may be beyond our limited capacities to comprehend, yet we know you are present here in our hearts…in our lives, in our deepest knowing.  When You are most difficult to touch…even so You are present.

May we settle our fears and angers, turning instead to the sense of You that we know in our hearts.

Help us breathe deeply of hope and walk with courage.

Surround us, enfold us, await us—as we journey toward Your Light.  Be present with us we pray. Amen

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition

Haven will sponsor a team again this year. Interested in joining us? Contact Pastor Alessandri  l.alessandri1035@gmail.com or call 301-733-5056

 

 

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read Jeremiah 31: 31-34
31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

“Reflection:

Each Sunday during Lent, after we face our regrets and need for forgiveness and offer them to God with our confession. After we received the grace of God’s forgiveness, we sing three times:

Take, oh, take me as I am; summon out what I shall be;
set your seal upon my heart and live in me.”

I hear this song echoed in God’s “new covenant” — I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Live in me, the song says. Summon out what you created me to be — a child made in your image to bless the world. Help me put aside the things that get in the way of my loving you, Lord and my neighbor, the very kinds of things that I just confessed. Instead, let me grow as your beloved child, so others will see a resemblance to you.

Wondered about that “set your seal upon my heart”? In movies or television programs you may have seen a kings or titled persons use an engraved ring, metal stamp or cylinder to imprint their identifying initials or symbol in a small pool of hot wax that seals an envelope, letter or scroll. When you received that correspondence or witnessed a document with such a seal, you knew it had the full authorization of the seal’s owner, who would stand by his/her word. This is tradition that was found in the ancient Middle Eastern world, too.

Set your seal on my heart? Make me yours. Not in the sense of involuntary captivity, obsessive possessiveness or enslavement. But a unity in live-giving, mutual love. Let your love dwell so deeply, fully, completely in my heart and life, Lord, that my life is joined to yours and I could no sooner turn away from such love and devotion than stop my heart from beating. Let me not be ashamed, frightened or complacent to be yours, Lord. That covenant seal of your love and acceptance — “You are a baptized child of God, forever loved and forgiven — is a wonder, honor and gift so that we can bear and reflect you in the world.

Take, oh, take me as I am; summon out what I shall be;
set your seal upon my heart and live in me.”

Prayer: You speak, Lord, of this “new covenant” that you have written in our very bones, flesh and breath. Lord be in me when I process how to act, speak, and live, so others may know you. Lord be a part of the church, guiding us as we speak, act and serve, so others will see you.  You are our God and we are your people. Let it be so. Amen. So be it. Let it be so.

Music:  (Music listed above under St. Patrick’s Day will also speak to this devotion)

“Take, O, Take Me as I Am” ELW #814

“As a Seal Upon my Heart” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRwiyaKN1Mk

“Set Me As a Seal Upon Your Heart” (René Clausen) Acapella choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mVWmIj_O3E

Set me as a seal upon your heart
As a seal upon your arm
For love is strong as death
Set me as a seal upon you heart
As a seal upon your arm
For love is strong as death

Many waters cannot quench love
Neither can the floods drown it
Neither can the floods drown it
(Neither can the floods drown it
Neither can they drown it)
Set me as a seal upon your heart
As a seal upon your arm
For love is strong as death

“Who You Are to Me” (Chris Tomlin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wms76AfllVE

Oh, yeah

Some people think You’re distant, just some words on a page
That You’re nothing more than fables handed down along the way
But I’ve seen You part the waters when no one else could pull me from the deep
That’s who You are to me

Some people think You just live in cathedrals made of stone
But I know You live inside my heart, I know that it’s Your home
And I’ve seen You in a sunset and in the eyes of a stranger on the street
That’s who You are to me

You’re amazing, faithful, love’s open door
When I’m empty You fill me with hunger for more
Of Your mercy, Your goodness
Lord, You’re the air that I breathe
That’s who You are to me
Who You are to me

Sometimes I have my doubts, I’m sure that everybody does
And I wonder when I stumble, am I still worthy of Your love?
But I know that I get stronger when I’m talking to You down on my knees
You’re everything I need

You’re amazing, faithful, love’s open door
When I’m empty You fill me with hunger for more
Of Your mercy, Your goodness
Lord, You’re the air that I breathe
That’s who You are to me
Who You are to me

You’re forever Holy
You’re the Lamb who is worthy
My forgiveness (My forgiveness), my healer (My healer)
The Messiah, my Redeemer

You’re amazing, faithful, love’s open door
When I’m empty You fill me with hunger for more
Of Your mercy, Your goodness
Lord, You’re the air that I breathe
(Lord, You’re the air I breathe)
That’s who You are

You are greater, higher over it all
In Your presence, Jesus, I stand in awe
Of Your mercy, Your goodness
Lord, You’re the air that I breathe
That’s who You are to me

That’s who You are
That’s who You are
That’s who You are
That’s who You are to me
That’s who You are
That’s who You are
That’s who You are
That’s who You are to me

Songwriters: Charles Kelley / Chris Tomlin / David Wesley Haywood / Hillary Scott
Who You Are To Me lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Sunday, March 14, 2021 Bulletin, Response Sheet and Worship Information

Responses Bulletin 03142021 (pdf)                         Bulletin 03142021 (pdf)

WORSHIP SERVICE IN-PERSON & FACEBOOK LIVE

Sunday mornings at 9:30 am

Worship Service with Communion in person in the church sanctuary

(social distancing and masks required)

Worship Service LIVE on the Haven Facebook page

Starting around 2 p.m. on Fridays, you can pick up a bulletin, hymnal and communion sets on the parsonage back porch.  For extra precaution, use hand sanitizer before opening cartons/boxes. Keep the hymnal at your home for future use. The baggie of communion elements are enough for one person so please take one for each person watching at your home. (Haven Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Haven-Lutheran-Church-134647913268366 or you can get to the page by clicking the ‘F’ icon in the upper right corner (center of page if on a mobile device) of the Haven website www.havenlc.org The live service will remain on the page for viewing later too.  If you are not familiar with Facebook please scroll down past the ads, map and photos until you see Haven Lutheran Church with a small circle of the church photo in a post. It will say ‘Haven Lutheran Church is live’ Sunday at 9:30am. This will be the first post Haven will have that day. If you have issues please email the church office or call and leave a message and I will try to get back with you so I can walk you through how to find it.)

If you plan to attend the in-person worship service Sunday morning at 9:30 am in the sanctuary, please remember to bring your mask and continue to social distance. Please follow the directions of the ushers and diagrams in the narthex.  We need to be very conscientious of following advised and good practices to protect ourselves and others from COVID. We will gather together cautiously and carefully, seeking to be fed and upheld by time with our Lord and a community of believers in worship. Thank you.

March 11, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

March 11, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

March 11, 2021

THIS WEEKEND

Don’t Miss Church!
Set your clock ahead one hour on Saturday night.

RAISE THE ROOF AND PRAISE THE LORD We met with all the contractors involved in our roof project on Tuesday. They are estimating that they will begin the week after Easter! They realized we would appreciate our grounds looking nice for Easter Sunday, so they would wait to begin. I thought that was wonderfully considerate!

On the contribution side of this project, we have now received $2,070 that will be matched dollar for dollar.  That is in addition to the $6,550 that has already been donated and a pledge of $10,000 over the next five years. And there is still $2,930 of matching funds available for your contribution.

I keep reminding those involved with the roof project that we would like to know the date when the steeple will be removed and when it will be returned. We may not have much notice, but we will send it out via our Haven Family and Friends e-mail and, if time permits, in Haven’s E-Message and Sunday bulletin. Wouldn’t it be nice to set up our lawn chairs and watch together? A kind of Raise and Praise party. Stay tuned.

 

MARYLAND GOVERNOR’S MARCH 9th COVID-19 UPDATE:

  • Health metrics continue to decline:
    • Case Rate 12.9%
    • Positivity Rate 3.9%
    • No counties in “Red Zone”
    • 8M tests given and 1.6M vaccines
    • 98.6% have been deployed and 95% vaccines given
  • Mass vaccination site in Hagerstown will open March 25that Wolf Bros Furniture at the Prime Outlets.
  • Demand continues to outweigh supply and MD’s allotment will remain the same for two more weeks until we start seeing manufacturing increases in April/May
  • Effective Friday March 12 at 5pm many restrictions will be lifted:
    • *Capacity limits on outdoor and indoor dining will be removed, Masking, physical distancing protocols remain in place
    • *Capacity limits removed on retail services, recreational centers, churches, etc. Masking, physical distancing protocols remain in place
    • Capacity limits for larger outdoor venues, outdoor sporting venues, and convention venues raised to 50% – Masking, physical distancing protocols remain in place
    • Adult day care centers will open
    • Out of state travel and required quarantines will be lifted
    • Employers should continue supporting telework when possible as indoor work is still a place for exposure
    • Outside activity is safer and encouraged
  • Statewide mask order remains in full effect in all public indoor spaces, and in outdoor spaces when you can’t maintain safe distances
  • We should remain vigilant and not be complacent in being safe as we remove restrictions. Do not let your guard down and keep up safety practices so we can continue to lift more restrictions
  • Sec. Kelly. Schulz comments:
    • MD Unemployment rates down because we followed best practices
    • It’s important for businesses to not only be safe, but to make people coming in feel safe – so continue safety practices
  • Dr Robert Redfield – Sr. Advisor for Public Health
    • New steps Governor is taking are sensible steps when continuing safety practices
    • Vaccines are key to this pandemic’s end. We should all embrace vaccinations with confidence
    • We should safely reopen responsibly as soon as we are able to do so safely in order to limit negative impacts on public health, mental health, etc.

You can read more details in his new Executive Order https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Gatherings-20th-AMENDED-3.9.21.pdf

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR HAVEN LUTHERAN WORSHIP? In general, we stay the course and continue to be vigilant for the love of our neighbor.
As far as worship, a change in capacity percentages is not particularly relevant for us. It’s the size of our sanctuary and maintaining social distancing that dictate the number we could safely accommodate. We currently average about 25 persons right now. We could easily accommodate twenty or more, depending on whether those attending are couples or families that could sit together. So if you have your vaccine and are feeling a bit more confident, YES, there is room for you in the church here. It would be nice to see more faces. Maybe Easter Sunday?
We will continue to ask participants to wear masks and to sing and respond softly for now. We will still not be able to have a coffee fellowship at this time. But, oh, we are getting closer to the time when we will be able to sing boldly, pass the peace and share goodies in the parlor. Thanks be to God.

LOOKING FOR SOME EASTER BUNNY CO-CONSPIRATORS   If our parents agree to bring their kids, could we have an Easter Egg Hunt here on Easter at 11 am? We would be outside, delight in watching kids and talking with one another. Just asking!

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR OUR TIMES

March 9, 2020

Carl Sandburg (American poet)

Bless Thee, O Lord for the miracle of light to my eyes

and the mystery of it ever changing

Bless Thee,  0 Lord, for the laws Thou hast ordained

holding fast these tall oblongs of stone and steel,

holding fast the planet Earth in its course

and farther—

beyond the cycle of the Sun.

Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener.

Dig a ditch, soil and sweat,

and turn the world upside down….

and seek the deepness….

and water the plants in time

 

Continue this labor and make sweet floods to run

and noble and abundant fruits to spring.

Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship.

 

Holy One:

May that which enlightens this world to our minds and hearts open us to all that is.

Let us marvel at the work done in Your world, the presence of small rays of hope, and the blessings we are to each other.

May your holiness surround and enfold us…

And help us bring it to fruit in the lives we live together–in the lives we each touch.

Bring light to us all as we live in faith,…

and as we share life with each other. Amen

Reverend Valerie Wills,  Coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read   Ephesians 2: 4-10

4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

John 3:14-21

Jesus said:] 14“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

Reflections
In my preparations for teaching and preaching on this Sunday’s readings, I came across an article by Andrew Prior, an minister in the Uniting Church  of Australia. It was reflecting on the readings assigned for this Sunday’s worship, including the two printed above. It stopped me in my preparations and sent me wandering and wondering. This is part of what he wrote:
“I still remember the shock that “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world.” I was not quite able to see the implication of my response to this verse some forty years ago, which was that I had somehow internalized the idea that God does condemn the world. Informing and coloring everything else was an underlying instinct that God does not really like us; that God barely tolerates us. It was as though this subliminal text ran between the lines on every page of my bible: You don’t deserve this. God does not like you.”

I was so startled by Pastor Prior’s words, that I shared my shock and sadness with the Wednesday morning Bible Study group. What must it be like to think, to believe that God doesn’t love you but maybe tolerates you? It’s one thing not to know or believe in God. But it is an entirely different experience to believe you really aren’t worthy of God’s love or care because God doesn’t like you.

That led me to wonder — How many others in our churches carry that as a truth in their lives? How many others outside the church can’t imagine a God who likes them or considers them worthy of love and care? Oh, how the world need us to show God’s love so that their hearts, curiosity or hurts could be captured by that love and be draw to the source.

I then moved to the other side of these questions. What would it be like to live fully, completely, wonderfully in the assurance that God loves us unconditionally, perfectly and forever? I do believe God loves me, even when I don’t love myself or go terribly astray —- but not fully, completely and wonderfully. I keep a space apart in there for myself — a space for my Adam/Eve control-grabbing, a space for my pulling away or turning a deaf ear, a space where I hide, trying to play it safe so I don’t have to be uncomfortable. I know I am blessed by the love of God, each and every day in countless ways. That shores me up and anchors me in everyday, in good and in difficult circumstances. But what would it be like to let the love of God totally fill me? Fill you?

Is that something we see happen in Jesus? He lived so fully, completely and wonderfully in the love of God, that he fearlessly listened, followed, trusted and obeyed God. Is that why the power of God to heal, calm storms, dismiss demons, know the hidden stories of others was able to work through Jesus, because he lived so fully, completely and wonderfully in the love of God, he was then open for the power of God to work in and through him?

I’ve provided more questions than comments today. I hope you will ponder them with me throughout the day and week. Do you believe God loves you and proclaims you worthy of love? If so, what does it mean to you and how you live? If not, let’s take a walk soon and talk — because you are deeply, forever loved by God. As some internet notes say — If God had a pocket and wallet, God would have your picture in it, ready to proudly show others, “This is one of my sons/daughters. He/she is a special one!”

Prayer: My Lord and God, I can’t fathom how you can love us all so completely. I want that truth to fill and takeover my heart, open my mind and direct my every word and deed so that everyone I meet is touched by your healing, empowering, selfless love. I lift before you those who do not know you and those who think you only tolerate them. Draw them to you and use me and your church to do so. Amen.

Music:

Suggested

“God Loved the World” ELW #323
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJr6b1RMigA
(Choral) God Loved the World So That He Gave (Choral) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIzq_Su-N3s

“For by Grace You Haven Been Saved” ELW #598 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXjDpL3Mkbc

“That Priceless Grace” ELW #591 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_yX1jfBYeU

“Christ, the Life of All the Living” ELW #339  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93by8YgogyU

“Grace is Not Earned”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdKnown0PH8

Other

“God Loves You” (Jaci Velasquez)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzUqlTKdqlk

“Nobody Loves Me Like You” (Chris Tomlin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG_IXFEO8yE

“Oh, How He Loves You and Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNCtcITOP0w

“Bless the Lord” (10,000 Reasons) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E&list=RDQMQY-hOw45aFY&start_radio=1