March 9, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri

March 9, 2021 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

March 9, 2021

GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

Charlotte & I delivered 20 subs from Tony’s & 20 bags of assorted chips to Meritus this afternoon.  Amanda Shaw told me they would be used to feed workers in the Surgical staff which just started back up yesterday.

Amanda was very pleasant to work with & very grateful for this donation.

Peace, Elaine

EASTER FOOD BASKETS RETURN

Hurrah for Haven Lutheran Church!  We will give food baskets at Easter.  In doing so, we share God’s love and concern for others.  Yes, things are different and there will be no giving tree. All of this due to the generosity of the congregation in the past three years.

Here’s what happened.  The Hunger Team was unaware that generosity had led to an accumulation of funds beyond what we used for the holiday baskets. As Council moved towards the roof project, they looked at special gifts.  The money for food baskets was never meant to accumulate and yet there were funds that had been there for a couple of years.  They suggested that the team look at ways to use some of them to battle hunger. With that in mind, some of the team asked if we could use some of the money or whether it would be temporarily unavailable while it was part of the collateral for the loan on the roof.  We asked if there was enough to buy the food for 6 families this Easter.  The opinion was that it was available and would be a great use of it.

So once again this year, we will do something a little differently A few people from the team will do all the buying in such a way that there will be no need to have folks to pack (oh, that social distancing thing). The boxes will be picked up on April first (no fooling) using the same method we did at Christmas. The congregation is still involved because it was your generosity in the past that has provided the funds for these Easter food baskets.

The Hunger Team would like to ask the congregation to pray for the families we will give the food to.  Also, give thanks for the staff at Fountaindale who care enough about their pupils to do the necessary paperwork to enable us to carry out this project. Virtual learning has made the job of getting written replies much more difficult for them. Yet they persevere to help their children and families.
Linda Clark & the Hunger Team

NEW CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) GUIDELINES FOR VACCINATED PERSONS, TWO WEEKS AFTER RECEIVING FULL VACCINATION  
Many of us who have received our COVID vaccination have wondered how that affects our interactions with others and with the community. Since there are not a sufficient number of persons vaccinated yet, we still need to be mindful and follow the standard guidelines of wearing mask and social distancing. With still much to learn, it could be possible for someone who is vaccinated to be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID and spread to those who have not been vaccinated. For the sake of the wider community, we still need to be careful. BUT, there is some good news in these guidelines that seem like “baby steps” toward renewed life together. For the full, updated CDC guidelines, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html#anchor_1615143336158

Key Points (Directly from the CDC posting)
This is the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.

For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).

The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

Again, for the complete CDC guideline visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html#anchor_1615143336158

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: Number 21: 4-9
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Reflections
Prepared by Jennifer V. Pietz for Luther Seminary’s “God Pause” March 8, 2021 posted at https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/

This scripture gives a snapshot of divine love in the face of human sin. The people whom God liberated from captivity in Egypt have grown impatient on their journey to the promised land and doubt whether God can be trusted. God, nonetheless, remains committed to the people and responds to both their complaints and their repentance. Instead of removing the poisonous serpents that bite the Israelites as a consequence of their sin, God heals them when they look at a bronze serpent raised up on a pole—a remedy that requires them to continually trust God for salvation.

John 3:14–21 recalls this image, indicating that Jesus raised up on the cross is God’s ultimate way to save people by drawing them into a relationship of trust with a loving God. We can be honest with Jesus about our sin and struggles because he has entered into us and works in us to bring new life.

Prayer Faithful God, thank you that your love sustains us on the long journey of faith. Help us to trust your saving presence and provision, even in the midst of our darkest hours. Amen.

Music:
Suggested for Numbers 20:4-9

“Lift High the Cross” ELW # 660

(brass and organ, with words) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lovEkx76VvQ

“My Faith Looks Up to Thee” ELW # 759 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGKLmThF2to

Other

“The Hurt and the Healer” (Mercy Me) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqBMNSuDf7g

“Healing God” (11th Hour Worship) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHAeqGyZxAU

“Healing” (Riley Clemmons) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDiG3Nxm7CU

“Blessings” (Laura Story) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQan9L3yXjc

I BECAME CURIOUS

Is it a coincidence that the symbol for the medical field includes a serpent twined on a pole? There is some speculation of a connection with story of the serpent bites and healing staff mention in today’s Bible story. Yet, most sources point to two different mythological gods and argue over who “got it right.”

The rod of the left is the Rod of Asclepius, said to belong to Aesculapius, who was the revered Greek god of healing. The rod on the right is called the Caduceus, a symbol of Hermes or Mercury in Greek and Roman mythology. Hermes was the Greek god in charge of shepherds, travel and commerce. Mercury, of Roman mythology, was fastest of the gods, he had winged shoes and helmet to help him travel. He was a herald, a messenger of the gods. The story goes that on one adventure he saw two snakes fighting. To stop them he threw a stick (given to him by Apollo) at them and at once the serpents wrapped themselves around it and became fixed and at peace. Mercury was the god of commerce, travel and thieves. But much later, it would become a symbol for professionalism or craft. One source said, anyone wanting their work to be taken seriously would include the caduceus as a kind of early precursor of professional accreditation.

I will leave you to Google if you want to learn about how these two symbols got mixed in and mixed up in the medical field. You will find varying theories and historical references. I started out thinking I would cleverly bring your attention to a biblical symbol making its way into popular culture. What I found was a tangle of information. Still…. I can’t help but look at either the Asclepius or Caduceus without thinking of this wilderness scene of sin, consequence and grace.

And by the way, you can find the staff with a snake wrapped around it in one of Haven’s slender stained glass windows.