January 26, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

 January 26, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)


 January 26, 2021

WORSHIP AT HAVEN ON THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY  We had 23 persons in church and over 100 views on the Facebook live stream last Sunday. What a delight to worship together.  Thanks be to God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

Enjoy the snow AND enjoy knowing this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Squad Explorers and Anglers for Jesus

“This week James Paul, Roark and Quill started learning about the disciples.  We focused on the fishermen, Peter and Andrew (note the hats with the fish).  They have now declared their group “Anglers for Jesus”(as well as God Explorers) They loved watching a movie clip from the Chosen about when Jesus meets Peter and Andrew and asks them to follow him.  When we stopped it, they said “can we watch a little more”?  What a blessing.

Here is the photo with their hats (of course Quill has to show he is different 🙂 and I tell him Jesus loves when we embrace our Uniqueness.  Also, I hope you will enjoy this clip from the Chosen.”

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

Jamie and Jim Cannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A STORY FROM THE COMMUNITY — BE A GIFT (As recently posted on a devotional website)

One morning I prayed and received the words “be a gift to the Church and to the world.” I realized that, like *St. Therese of Lisieux, I can do little things with great love. I made “being a gift” my life mission. Most of the things I do take minutes and occur during the daily rhythm of life. I have come to view myself as a conduit of God’s love. Every morning, I look forward to giving gifts to those around me. If even a small portion of the adults in the US can be transformed the way I have been and start being a gift to those around us, we will change the world through love and God’s grace.                                                  —John P.

* Who was St. Therese of Lisieux? (“Little Flower”) Therese Martin was the last of nine children born to Louis and Zelie Martin on January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France. However, only five of these children lived to reach adulthood. Precocious and sensitive, Therese needed much attention. Her mother died when she was 4 years old. As a result, her father and sisters babied young Therese. She had a spirit that wanted everything.

At the age of 14, on Christmas Eve in 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love, instead of keeping herself happy. At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her last words were the story of her life: “My God, I love You!”

The world came to know Therese through her autobiography, “Story of a Soul”. She described her life as a “little way of spiritual childhood.” She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God’s love. “What matters in life,” she wrote, “is not great deeds, but great love.” Therese lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love. Therese’s spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.

Source: https://www.littleflower.org/therese/

I am sad to announce the death of Kendra Sellers,
daughter of Sharon Sellers who died in December 2019.  When Sharon was still well, they use to sit in the back pew, in the center section of the church.

For 61 years Kendra had lived with her mother. At her mom’s death, she moved in with her brother, Mark, and his wife in Boonsboro. Kendra was excited about moving into an apartment managed for adults with special needs. Arrangements were all made by March 2020 when COVID halted any moving. She waited hopefully in Boonsboro with her brother and sister-in-law for the day she could have her own place.

Kendra always dealt with breathing health issues and so she and her family had been very careful during the pandemic. Somehow she contracted COVID, though no one can figure out how. She was soon hospitalized and died Monday, with her brother permitted to be with her.

Arrangements for a graveside service are being planned at Rest Haven cemetery. I ask you to please keep Kendra’s family in prayer.

There have been over 416,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID. This is not a number but people. Please take the guidelines seriously — for the protection of yourself, the community and for the medically vulnerable like dear Kendra.

 

 

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read  Psalm 111

1Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

Reflection
Psalm 11 begins and ends with praise, an expression of deep gratitude for all God has done (described in verses 2-9). But this praise is not just about words and not only expressed in worship. As the psalmist says, “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,” or, as other translations say, with my whole being, my whole life.

Our praise and thanks to God is most fully expressed in our lives and our lifestyles. Our entire lives are to be songs of thanks to the Lord to whom we dedicate our lives and promise to obey. Here is where we check into what is our faith. Do we consider ourselves “religious” because we belong to a church, attend worship or make an offering? Or do we belong to a church, attend worship, make an offering and serve our neighbor because we have dedicated our lives in thanks and praise to honor our great and loving God with our lives? Do you see a difference? In the former, religion is solely about commitment to the traditions and rules of an earthly church. In the latter, we dedicate our entire lives to the ways and will of a mighty and all loving God and the church is seen as a valuable, needed gift God has given us where we learn and grow, enact and strive, and get strength and encouragement for our lives of praise.

It’s a challenge, isn’t it — to put God first, to put God in the center of what I choose and do day in and day out. Yet, I pray we won’t back away from it because it sounds like too much work to think that way. To look first to God and the ways of Jesus, actually frees us from getting too stuck in ourselves and the limits of our fears, history or opinions. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are the beloved of the creator and savior of all. That’s one way of thinking of “the fear of the Lord.” It’s not about trembling with fright. It is about living in the awareness and awe that God is God and we are not. It’s about getting swept up in the overwhelmingly magnificence of God and all God has done, is doing, will do within and for all of creation.

Through Psalm 111 I realize that when I speak of praising God, I am inviting you and myself into a way of life — God’s way of living and loving. “It’s Offering Time!” “Praise God!” Praise God — that our whole lives might sing with the love, generosity, compassion, healing, caring of the Lord, in whose image we were made.

Prayer: (ELW Psalm Prayer for Psalm 111)

Gracious and holy God, feed us at the table of holy wisdom, that we may honor, love, and obey you as your children. May we remember your wonders and ponder your works, so that we delight to do what you ask of us, by the power given to us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Music:

“Praise God” Doxology
(acapella)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQUTvMtUhw4
(A multi-generational new version)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUD0yh9bu5w

“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” ELW #858
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-KP3jVsdHE
(pipe organ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqW_oKhChmg

“Life of Praise”  (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUSDyTrQnyk

Some feel good praise music on a gray day

“Oh Happy Day” from Sister Act 2  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXPoRnY3r10

“Every Praise” uplifting video (dare you to stay perfectly still 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuuZMg6NVeA