January 4, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

January 4, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf) 

 

 

 

 

 

 January 4, 2021

              

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Two very different approaches to moving from 2020 to 2021. I think most of us have felt more like the “Stink. Stank. Stunk.” (Thank you, Dr. Seuss) Which is why this other new year’s greeting caught my eye.

Take with you the wisdom — the authority and power of all you have learned.” I think we will be unpacking that for a while — what were the lessons? What did I learn? What did we learn?  And, perhaps, as important — will we keep or throw out the 2020 lesson babies with the 2020 stink, stank, stunk bathwaters? But first we must mine for those lessons.

Is it possible to “remember the past year with love” and “let go of its despair’? If we could look at 2020 with more curiosity and compassion than loathing, would the lessons amid the muck be more visible?

Oh, but that final line — “It is time now for something new” — is a faith statement.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
“Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

Revelation 21: 5
“And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

“No matter what is going on around us, it’s important to remember that God keeps transforming creation into something both good and new. Instead of hurtling us towards catastrophe, God always wants to bring us somewhere even better…. God keeps creating things from the inside out, so they are forever yearning, developing, growing, and changing for the good. That might be hard to see sometimes in the moment, but it’s nevertheless true.” Richard Rohr, “Pulling Back the Veil”

Lessons and learnings AND something new. It’s our New Year’s gifts that we will keep unwrapping. May we unwrap it with the anticipation of a child and the appreciation of a wise elder and the generosity of those who know they are loved and blessed by an unstoppably gracious and loving God. Amen.
                                                                                                Pastor Linda M Alessandri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS from Haven Lutheran Members and Friends

We (Craig, Joyce, Piper & Tanner) had a wonderful time Sunday evening at our Christmas Caroling drive-in service.  Thanks to you and everyone who worked to make this very special service possible.  It was so good to be together again.
God Bless, Craig Meredith
(received December 22, 2020)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Huguenin enjoyed his
God Squad Explorer Advent Wreath

 

 

 

 

It’s been such a topsy-turvy year so I thought I would step back and take a look at the positives it brought us

Worship as we know it ended, but through creative thinking and dedication to hearing the Word we began with online worship, worked our way to parking lot worship and finally a return to in-house worship for those who were comfortable.

Not seeing my Church family has probably been one of the hardest to deal with, we all found ways to stay connected through phone calls and online visits.

The Choir, my most blessed connection, met weekly on Zoom to help us deal with the losses of weekly practice and singing for worship.

Distance from family was also very troubling, but again, the internet and phone calls helped us care and love each other. Perhaps we even spoke more often due to the disconnect.

Not being able to dine publicly created a need for all of us to rediscover our cooking skills and promoted a search for new methods and recipes.

Being stuck at home gave me a new appreciation for the outdoors and the Lord’s wonderful creation.

And the Lord sent us the Christmas Star at a time when we thought miracles were never going to happen. (Sad that it’s been cloudy, but I know it’s there.)

And most importantly, I began to pray with increased regularity as my connection would sometimes wane.

Thanks Be To God
Pam O’Connor                (received December 22, 2020)

 

MUCH Gratitude and many Godsightings
My drive to and from Atlanta went well. I saw all kinds of weather. As I was driving Christmas morning, the trees in Virginia and Tennessee were covered with snow, making it a living Christmas card with radio Christmas music as the greetings inside.  (Don’t worry — Road were well salted as my car would clearly show by the end of the drive.)

One of the great treats was being with my great nephew, Hudson, and his Mom, Becca and his Dad, Drew (my nephew.) Hudson’s energy was constant. His vocabulary for a two-year old was surprising (broccoli? tomato? Margaritaville?) And his music preferences diverse to the max — Roll out the Barrel Polka; Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet; Step by Step by New Kids on the Block (noted on his birthday T-shirt) — all which he knows to ask for by name, sing (somewhat) and dance to. I was enchanted.

Time with my sister, brother-in-law and his brother was fun, funny and restful. Lots of Yahtzee, Christmas movies, Christmas music and long sleeps. I come back to you all refreshed. Now back to ministry, work and decisions with teams and you as we wade into 2021 looking for the new with hope and perseverance.     Pastor Alessandri

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers for Today’s Times
December 29, 2020

Muslim  (Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali)

Light before me, light behind me,

Light to the right of me

Light to the left of me

Light above me

Light beneath me.

O God, increase my light and give the greatest light of all.

Of thy mercy grant me light,

O thou most merciful.

Hindu (The Upanishads)

He who is in the sun

And in the fire

And in the heart of all

Is One.

…one  who knows this

is one with the ONE.

Source of love and light and hope: as You always are, be with us as we bid farewell to a difficult year.  Keep our new joys, health and hope as holy light before us in this coming year. Be with us as we search out our path forward in the light of the possibilities ahead.

Holy One of Light, stay near we pray.  Amen.

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition

 

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

“To Do Love Me?”  Fun video These robots have some move! ( “Our whole crew got together to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year: Happy New Year from all of us at Boston Dynamics”)

.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read Genesis 1: 1-5

1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Reflection

Haven has a subscription to a worship resource called Sundays and Seasons. It has the readings, liturgies and music we need to plan worship and prepare bulletins. When I went to copy the reading above, it had this commentary:

Out of chaos, God brings order. Out of the formless void, God brings light. This familiar story was good news for the Israelites, who experienced much chaos in their history. It remains good news for us. God created and continues to create new life.

That seems to say it very well. Put it next to my opening comments on moving from 2020 to 2021. And the angel Gabriel said, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  What order, what light will the Lord make possible.

Prayer
Creator of  light and all that is good, open our hearts and minds to what you can make possible where we only see messiness. Put new light and lightness in us, that we may see and celebrate the small and big signs of your love and new possibilities around us this and every day. Amen

Music  Celebrating God’s Light and Creation

“Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory” (Haugen) #561
(ensemble) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZIGKtn5B4o
(organ rendition)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA0vrXxjUZQ

“God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens” ELW #771 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZIGKtn5B4o

“When Long Before Time” (The Singer and the Song) #861 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs6NKOacN2A

“O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” ELW #308 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICueiu67fzE

“God of Wonders” (Chris Tomlin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXMT1IdoDCM