July 17, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 17, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 17, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church



DID YOU GET THE E-MAIL WITH THE LINK TO “MEAL TRAIN”? The Lions and Haven Lutheran Church are arranging to bring Pastor Kaplan a meal every other day while he recovers from his hip surgery. This app is an easy way to organize it. At the site you will find instructions and a calendar with available days. IF you can’t get on the site and want to participate, PLEASE contact me (l.alessandri1035@gmail.com or 301-745-4216) and we’ll get you signed up.

WORSHIP TODAY AT 5 P.M. IN THE SANCTUARY. We will have the doors open. The air-conditioning on. Some ushers to help you find a seat. And a pastor who will be very glad to see you. Masks are required and we will be practicing social distancing.

Remember there are still two other weekend opportunities to worship on Sunday: An On-line service starting at 9:30 am and our Drive-up and Outdoor Worship Service also at 9:30 am.

Keep close to the Lord and your church community. Gifts of God for the people of God.

JUST BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH (Or sometimes groan)
More submissions from lexophiles (lover of words) to a competition held by the New York Times.

Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

When chemists die, they barium.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can’t put it down.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

If you don’t pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.


From the weekly COVID Update from Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop William (Bill) Gohl, Jr.

But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”– Jesus, Matthew 13:23 (NRSV)

Beloved, all:
In the midst of multiple pandemics – COVID, rampant racism, hunger, unchecked white supremacy, unemployment, partisan politics that cause gridlock, personal freedom over the needs of the common good, in the throes of thorns and thistles, the cares of the world and the lure of wealth, God in Jesus Christ continues to bring a harvest.
One of our small but mighty congregations, Amazing Grace (McElderry Street), has (with the help of significant community partnerships and Church friends, like the folks from St. John Sweet Air) had its feeding ministries continue to morph and mushroom into providing groceries, produce, perishables and hot meals for hundreds upon hundreds each week – and this week will cut the ribbon on its first affordable housing project; Good Shepherd (Wilmington), in a more affluent community, has leveraged its Shepherd’s Garden to provide fresh foods for the local pantries by inviting their neighbors to come and leave their gifts at the altar, or at least in the bins, too; the North Avenue Mission (Baltimore), hardly a twinkle in their developer’s eye as Covid began, got the church and community around co-creating Red Shed Village to house and provide for the most vulnerable in the midst of pandemic and are now a fully accredited ELCA worshipping community; Joy Reigns (Edgewater) provides for vulnerable infants and families; Grace (Westminster) became a significant pop-up food distribution center; the pantry shelves at St. John (Pimlico), Immanuel (Manchester), Epiphany (Baltimore) and St. Stephen (Trolley Square) are laid bare and miraculously replenished week by week for their community; Breath of God (Highlandtown) has fed thousands hot meals and groceries (with ongoing support from partners like First (Ellicott City), and Jerusalem (Belair Road) distributes five tons of food, twice a week; St. Paul (Cumberland) has innovated ways to have their well-appreciated Bountiful Blessings feeding ministry go drive through – with intentional love and prayer, to go; Zion (City Hall Plaza), First English (39th Street), St. Marks (St. Paul Street), and St. Philips (Caroline Street) partner with others to see that the needs of the neighbor continue to be met; daycare centers at Prince of Peace (Rosedale), Salem (Jarretsville), Reformation (Milford) have provided child care for essential workers in the midst of stay-at-home orders; and so many others many others do small and big things, cultivating online community and risking something of yourselves in person, reminding the world that the church never closed. The seed continues to be sown. The Word goes forth. God brings a harvest – in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty and in another thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!

Racial Justice Series: Listen and Learn about Racism
Our Synod’s Racial Justice Team invites you to participate in an educational series about racism that will provide historical context, facilitate your personal journey, and help you find your voice in this national conversation. Recognizing that systemic racism is a sin which has been perpetuated by the institutional silence of our predominantly white denomination, these sessions are being led by predominantly white leaders in our synod to facilitate greater accountability for addressing the sin of racism within our congregations and the ELCA.  It will be held on Zoom on four consecutive Monday evenings from July 27th to August 17th. For more details and to register go to  https://demdsynod.org/listen-and-learn-about-racism/.  You are also encouraged to view additional resources on the Racial Justice Ministry’s newly updated webpage. https://demdsynod.org/connectedness/racial-justice-ministry-team/

A Word of Caution
It appears someone has been emailing under my name from a fraudulent account.  Please disregard, report and/or trash any emails from me that seem suspicions and do not include our Synod’s affiliation.

The Church is not closed
FISH (Fellowship in Serving the Hungry), a joint ministry of St. Paul (Newark) and Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Delaware continues its life-giving work of tending the hungry in the community; St. Paul’s (Funkstown) has just finished its first online Vacation Bible School; Mar-Lu-Ridge has begun online Summer Camp sessions! Thanks be to God for your witness and ministry!

Each week, I watch church newsletters and social media for glimpses of the good work you are doing in the name of Christ and the church! Have I missed a way that your congregation or ministry is serving during these strange times? Email me, bgohl@demdsynod.org, and put The Church is Not Closed in the subject line!

With my love and prayers,





Read: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

24[Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”
36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”


Reflection   Prepared and sent to us by Charlotte Loveless last Sunday evening. Charlotte thought it has something to say about last Sunday’s sermon on the “Parable of the Sower.” I saved it to share with you today because I think it also has something important to say about this Sunday’s gospel. (Charlotte said we can feel free to share.)

I watched as my neighbor’s 5-year-old son was trying to help water flowers in my flower bed.

As with any 5-year-old he was at least somewhat interested in playing in the water and had to be told he was helping. Standing nearby his mother cautioned, “not there., those are probably weeds. ” I responded that I believed that they were wild violets. “Sometimes we have to water the weeds to get to the flowers,” I said. ” Sometimes those weeds spring forth as beautiful wild flowers.” I said.

Later after much contemplation, I compared the weeds to people in my life. Sometimes people come into our lives often well intentioned, often in need to be heard, to share ideas, to get opinions, to find a safe place, and for many unknown, untold reasons Sometimes we wonder why and how and consider that we might not have chosen them as friend. Maybe its language they use; maybe it’s a checkered past or just not my choice but there they are. Don’t despair. They could be that hidden hybrid plant that been tossed around by life and not allowed sunshine and water. Maybe they have the possibility of a beautiful wild flower, given the attention of water, food and sunshine.

Thinking of life as a garden gives us perspective but seeking perfection in our gardens separates us from many unknown, untold stories and the potential for many hidden, unexpected beautiful blooms.

Sometimes we water the weeds to get to the flowers.

Don’t undervalue what appear to be weeds in the garden of your life.



O God, today we come before you as wheat and sometimes as weeds growing in your field. Thank you for being patient and full of grace as we continue to grow in you. Help us to see everyone as precious, with potential to bear good fruit. Amen.
(Rev. Alvina Olstead as posted on Luther Seminary’s God Pause July 16, 2020.)


“We Plow the Fields and Scatter” ELW #681
(instrumental)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A40aEDICl08
(Soloist)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNAZSjYbxzo

“Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” ELW #659 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryHm5ZLyFsc

“All Are Welcome” ELW 641 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFz_3n224MA

“Build My Life” (Pat Barrett)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW4_8_zCBE