February 2, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

February 2, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

       Hagerstown, Maryland

   February 2, 2021

We called them our “heroes” — the medical staff at hospitals who were tending to the care of those who had COVID. A year into the pandemic, the praise and thanks have quieted while their work and risk has not.
Last Thursday Doug Wright delivered sandwiches and soup for 20 persons from Locust Point Market to Meritus Hospital to be presented to one of the units for their lunch. This week, Amy Mason and her family will be delivering 20 boxed lunches from Panera Bread. It is a small way to say “thank you” to those who have had an incredibly challenging year on our community’s behalf. It is also a way to support one of Hagerstown’s businesses that has had a different kind of challenge over the past year.
We have funds in our Neighbors in Need Fund to sponsor one or two more meals. Ask your favorite local restaurant if they could provide individually wrapped sandwiches, salads or meals for 20 and the cost. Call or email me with your research and suggestion. (l.alessandri1035@gmail.com) We have folks who could pick it up and deliver to Meritus.

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers For Today’s Times

February 2, 2021


Oh my Lord,

If I worship you

From the fear of hell, burn me in hell.

If I worship you

From the hope of Paradise,

Bar me from its gates.

But if I worship you

for you yourself alone,

grant me the beauty of your face.

Kekchi Maya:

O, God, O Lord of the mountains and valleys, I have offered you a bit of your food, your drink.  And now I continue on, beneath your feet and your hands, I, a traveler.

Now I will sleep beneath your feet, beneath your hands, O lord of the mountains and valley, O lord of the trees, O lord of the creeping vines.  Again tomorrow there will be day, again tomorrow there will be light.  I know not where I will be.

Who is my mother?  Who is my father?  Only you, O God.  You watch me, guard me, on every path, through every darkness, and before each obstacle that you might hide or take away.  O God, O Lord of the mountains and valleys.


Holy One of the world we live in, as we travel the journey of life, hold us close. Let there be bounties of love before us.  Help us on our journey when it seems unending and our hearts are weary. Spread your holy light before us that we may walk through our dark moments.

Awaken us to the dawning of light ahead when we see only shadows. Lessen our fears of the unknown and turn our hearts to the power of Your Hope.

Let us pray only for the gift of Your nearness on this our shared journey. Be present, we pray.  Amen.

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator
Washington county interfaith coalition

We were not “stuck inside” because of COVID. We have a snow day! If you stepped outside, there was this wonderful quiet. Everything looked so clean and bright. So, what did you do? Was there some warm comfort food? (I am so tempted to make chocolate chip cookies.) Did you tuck under a blanket to read a book or binge on a television program? (I just rediscovered “Murder She Wrote last night. Boy did the women have “big hair” back then.) Did you light a fire or pull out a game, puzzle or old needlepoint project? I booted and wrapped up to go refill my bird feeders between snows and get more wood for the fireplace. I worked on the computer and discovered I still had a “peaceful holiday” station on my Pandora station. (Don’t let it get around, but I kept it on. It seemed to fit the snow.) Whatever you did or did not do, I hope you treated yourself to some snow day fun.

GOT THE SOAP I NEEDED for our Lenten Worship bags. Thanks to all who brought over small, individually wrapped soaps to the parsonage and church. Now the fun part —- Why did pastor want soap for Lenten Worship bags?

FEBRUARY’S NEWSLETTER IS READY You can view it on Haven’s website (www.havenlc.org). If you would like the newsletter automatically emailed to you when it is posted, please contact the church office to get signed up! (havenoffice@havenlc.org )

SPECIAL INFORMATION SESSIONS ON THE ROOF PROJECT AND LOAN THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7  Members of the Property and Finance Teams will be available this Sunday to answer questions immediately after church OR at the on-line ZOOM meeting at 12 noon. (ZOOM link to be emailed AND included in Thursday’s E-Message.) The proposals can be found in last Sunday’s bulletin or in the February newsletter. (We had hoped to get a mailing out, too, but the weather may have put a hiccup in that plan.) Please give these decisions your prayers. Come this Sunday to gather the information you need to vote wisely.











Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil during the 135th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney on Tuesday. … Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Tuesday morning and, as legend holds, that means six additional weeks of heavy coats and mittens.



Read:  Isaiah 40: 25-31  and listen to it sung “Isaiah 40:25-31 Song (NKJV) “Those Who Wait on the LORD” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk87OJkX980

25To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.

27Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.


“Have you not known? God is the creator of all that is good — the stars in the sky that God named, numbered and keeps in place and a shower of unique snowflakes that cover the trees and ground. When we see something in nature that marvels or moves us, it is only natural to say, “Thank you, Lord…Good job, Lord, that was one beautiful moon rising last weekend… a stunning blanket of snow….”

“Have you not heard?” The mighty, all powerful God who created so many wonders, says you and I matter greatly. We are loved by this same God who has refused throughout Biblical history to abandon us, even when we were disobedient, awful or deliberately uncaring. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord is reminding the people (who are in exile,) that they are not abandoned, hopeless or rejected. God has not taken a break, tired out or lost interest in them/us. Remember and look:  “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” This could be our anthem in this pandemic, couldn’t it? Wait for the Lord… who pours strength into our weariness.

I think it ever so important to also remember that “Wait for the Lord” does not mean there are not good, redeeming, God-lighting things going on NOW, even in exile or a pandemic. If we keep our eyes cast downward and inside our dark feelings, we are not waiting for the Lord. We are looking away from the Lord who wants to be present, caring and loving to us NOW. While we are waiting to get through a particular time or circumstance, we are not victims or helpless. We have the Lord with us.

If we then apply “Wait upon the Lord” to our prayer, “Come, Lord, Jesus, Frederick Buechner adds another a reminder: “To wait for Christ to come in his fullness is not just a passive thing, a pious, prayerful, churchly thing. On the contrary, to wait for Christ to come in his fullness is above all else to act in Christ’s stead as fully as we know how. To wait for Christ is as best we can to be Christ to those who need us to be Christ to them most and to bring them the most we have of Christ’s healing and hope because unless we bring it, it may never be brought at all.” (Frederick Buechner, Frederick Buechner Blog)

Whether snow or COVID, a chronic illness or unknowns, we may feel a bit “grounded” but we are still eagles who are created to soar, glide on the air currents of God’s promises, peace and love.

Prayer: Faithful God, we do see the great and small of your Creation. We do hear your words of promise and love in scripture, holy communion, and your church community. Give eyes to see and ears to hear when we begin to forget and feel faint of heart. Pour your strength into us that we might be Christ for others and know you are the wind beneath our wings. Amen.


“I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” #611  (Chant Claire Chamber Choir) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw3dO7S9qI4

“Thy Holy Wings” #613 (Wartburg College)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw3dO7S9qI4

“Wait Upon the Lord” (Praise verse) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0agizm-4ro

“Everlasting God” (Chris Tomlin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZouTpqt4P_M

On a snowy day, some Fun from Sister Act:

“My God” (My Guy)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=girW7nTNnMQ

“I Will Follow Him” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPpd-6X3tEo

“Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaEH1e_DLm0