June 9, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 9, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

June 9, 2020

 

WORSHIP AT HAVEN Our “Re-opening Team” met via Zoom to discuss whether to begin to move worship inside the sanctuary. It was helpful to begin listing the pro’s and con’s of our options, remembering the current state & CDC recommendations for faith communities. We know that for most, nothing will beat the worship experience we had before COVID-19 came to change our lives. Since we can’t provide that now, what is the best way to provide safe weekly worship for the greatest number?
As much as we would all like to see the inside of our church, the cons of moving in and the pros of continuing with online and outdoor worship were fairly clear. While inside has comfortable seating, air-conditioning and is not effected by weather, it also would be a worship in which there was no singing and joint responses, everyone must wear masks, social distancing would limit the number who could worship and it would require a cadre of volunteers to direct persons to seating (which may not be your “usual” pew) and to exiting at the conclusion of worship. We concluded that this was not the quality of worship most would appreciate or find nourishing.  When the above conditions are laid out for people, many say they would rather watch on-line or in their cars where they can at least sing and join in responses.
Conclusion? At this time we will continue offering on-line worship and we will continue offering drive-up and outdoor worship. What about weather? I will record a message on our church answering system by 8:15 am on Sunday IF the weather looks like rain at 9:30 am. (More detailed directions about that later.) This would allow people to change plans and watch the on-line worship service instead.
How long will we continue this way? As with so many things these days, we can’t answer that. What we will do is continually re-evaluate our worship services as we watch the updated guidelines of the state and CDC.  We ask your prayers and invite your opinions as we try our best to move toward safely reopening our building and indoor worship.
“Haven Re-Opening Team”: Doug Wright, Council President; Dick Hess, Worship Team Chair; Susan Strobl, Dave Resh and Pastor Alessandri

WHAT ABOUT HOLY COMMUNION AT THE DRIVE-UP AND OUTDOOR WORSHIP? I will be contacting St. Ann’s to see how they are distributing communion at their Sunday services. I do know they are only distributing one communion element — the bread in wafer form. Lutherans, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics believe you receive the full presence of Christ when you receive only one of the communion element — the bread or the wine. Our Lord is generous and doesn’t hold back the Lord’s full presence, forgiveness or love in the bread or wine. I have especially appreciated this understanding of the benefits of Holy Communion in one element when I have brought communion to folks who could not swallow the bread or had trouble drinking liquids.  They could still receive God’s gift of Holy Communion.
I will keep researching, gathering ideas and thinking about how we may safely distribute communion in our drive-up and outdoor worship.
I grieve that I will not be able to share the sacrament with those who are worshipping on-line. But the day WILL come when either we can bring the sacrament to you or we will be together again for worship in our church.

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS

From Nancy Newkirk “Taken from my front porch. Have a beautiful day!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Read: Psalm 100
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Reflection:
Today on Luther Seminary’s on line devotions, God Pause, retired pastor Philip Formo writes:
“Unlike so many of the Psalms whose author is given as David or someone else, the source of this poem is anonymous. Yet, no matter who might have written it, the message is clear. It encourages us to shout out our praises to God. Even so, my mother certainly would have immediately clamped her hand over my mouth had I shouted in worship.

Even during this unprecedented time, with not only wars raging but COVID-19 also creating havoc, the psalmist invites us to pause, take a deep breath, and worship the One who created us and shepherds us. The Lord cares for us through this difficult time, as well as through other challenging experiences we encounter in our personal lives.

We have been created, chosen, and shepherded by the one God of the universe. Now that’s something to shout about! It’s all right, Mom.”

We have many people crying out right now. COVID-19 is still very much with us and we cry out for relief and for cooperation to protect our vulnerable neighbors and find a way forward. There are people of all races and nationalities throughout our nation and world who are crying out for greater justice for people of color, not only in law enforcement but in our social, economic and legal systems. It may seem that the psalms of lament and grief would be more appropriate for our prayer today. Yet in stumbles this exuberant song of praise and joy.

I can’t help but marvel that Psalm 100 was designated for this Sunday back in 1994 when the New Revised Lectionary (three-year cycle of designated Sunday readings) was adopted. It’s as if it was known that we would need this reminder of God’s steadfast goodness and faithfulness in our troubled hearts and times. As Pastor Formo points out, this psalm reminds us to take a breath of the Holy Spirit when we are feeling overwhelmed with circumstances and feelings. Breathe in the love, care and presence of God-with-us to steady us so we can find the peace and strength to carry on in hope and courage.

The cries of grief, the cries for justice and mercy will not end until all of God’s creation knows healing, wholeness and “enough.” The dam that can hold back the flood of despair is remembering God’s infinite and eternal love and promises. One of the best ways I know for building that resistance to hopelessness is to shout out our praises to God… to look back and notice the many times God has upheld and delivered us in the past… and to shout out again,
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth…. Know that the Lord is God…For the Lord is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and God’s faithfulness to all generations.”

Prayer: Give us eyes to see and hearts that notice you, Lord, that we might live in hope, grow in strength and shout your praise in all we say and do. Amen.

Music:

This won’t surprise you — “Shout to the Lord” ELW#822 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y78aKBa917I

“O Sing to the Lord” (powerful all men’s choir)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDG57E-SEnY

“Psalm 100” (This one gave me goose bumps & it’s a High School Virtual Choir) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaL_VeHil6U

“Enter the Gate” (Bryan & Katie Torwalt – “come with reckless praise”)    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ3N_i3j0P0

“Psalm 100” (Chris Tomlin)