January 18, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

January 18, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

 January 18, 2021

IN THE CHURCH BUILDING OR AT HOME, DID YOU WORSHIP AT HAVEN YESTERDAY? There were 27 who worshipped in the sanctuary, including 5 guests! And while I don’t’ understand all that it means, we had 111 reached and 76 engagements with the live stream worship posted on Haven’s face book page. I may not understand how Face book works, but I DO understand the importance of weekly worship – keeping grounded in our Lord and touching base with a faith community. Hope to worship with you again next Sunday!

Reports, Minutes and Agenda have been e-mailed to members for review before the meeting. Among the items on the agenda — A Recommendation for roof replacement, the challenge of convening a congregational meeting for discussion and voting upon a roof proposal, and how to have a congregational meeting February 28th. COVID has certainly added some layers of complexity but we will not be thwarted from being God’s church together!

P.S. The Council will also set up a Nomination Committee to seek members to fill four seats on the Council Members. Please prayerfully consider volunteering – It is a way to serve the Lord and the Lord’s church; you learn a great deal about the church; you share community with other Council members.  It may be YOUR turn to say, “Speak, Lord, I’m listening. Yes, I will serve you on Haven’s Council.”

Haven’s Re-Opening Team usually meets via Zoom each Monday to consider any new circumstances that may affect Haven’s worship or our current building use. We also share any concerns or suggestions we have received from folks. So please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Re-Opening Team with your ideas or concerns.
The Re-Opening Team is Doug Wright (Council President), Dick Hess (Worship Team Chair), Susan Strobl and Dave Resh (both with great backgrounds in the science of infections and sanitation) and Pastor Alessandri












In a neologism contest readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. See what you think.

Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavoured mouthwash.

Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.


Read:  Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (Actually, I commend the whole book of Jonah. It’s short and a good read!)

1The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.


As kids, we usually got totally fascinated with Jonah being swallowed by a “big fish.” Then there was usually a lot of giggling when we heard that the fish spit up Jonah on the shore. Yuck. As the storyteller for my first Vacation Bible School, I used a lot of heavy, black plastic, a ton of tape and several fans to configure a “whale” we could walk into. Using a lantern, I would lead a group of children inside where we would sit to talk about Jonah trying to run away from what God needed him to do which landed him in this big fish.

Our reading picks up after Jonah finds himself out of the fish and safe on the shore. Again, the Lord tells Jonah to go to Nineveh to proclaim a message God has for those living in that city. Jonah still doesn’t want to go. The ruthlessness and savagery the Ninevites had shown in battling the Hebrews was legendary. It may have been long ago but it was not forgotten. Who knows, one of Jonah’s long ago ancestors may have experienced it first handed. Jonah would relish seeing Nineveh being destroyed.

What we learn is that Jonah did not want to deliver the message of Nineveh’s impeding destruction because “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.” Forgive instead of punishing Nineveh?  Gosh darn it, that was the last thing Jonah wanted. It is really a rather humorous turn – being mad at God for being loving and forgiving. More specifically, Jonah was furious that God would be loving and forgiving towards people Jonah considered vile and undeserving.

In this brief story, there are so many entry points for reflection. Running from doing something God is asking of you? Running away from God? Sitting in the big fish, fussing with yourself and with God? Unable to accept that God loves and cares about a person or a people or a type of person that you find vile and undeserving? This is a short story that packs a punch or two. And while our attention is drawn to Jonah, it really is God’s story of love. God’s deepest desire to save and love all of creation, even the “them” we might wish to be excluded.

Pursuing Lord, you never give up on us. You continue to seek out the faithful and the lost and the faithful who don’t realize they are lost in their self-righteousness. Give us eyes to see when we turn away. Give us eyes to see that you are near. Give us eyes to see others as you see them. Help us to stop running and to rest in you so that you can pour into us your love, your strength and the will to follow you. Amen


“O Christ, Our Light, O Radiance True” #675 (suggested to go with Jonah)
(congregational singing)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4BaEacSNfg
(church orchestra) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3lc6sXChsI

“Jonah” (University Choir) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tdAh8o80OY

“Goodness of God” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f4MUUMWMV4

“The God Who Stays (Matthew West) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHMVSdIjBcg

“Even When You’re Running” (Casting Crown) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRiRdWTeJ9Y