May 11, 2020 – Message from Pastor Alessandri

 

May 11, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 11, 2020

Christ is Risen! Alleluia
(He is risen, indeed! Alleluia)

GOOD NEWS! GOOD NEWS! GOOD NEWS!  We have been asking you to please send in your offerings during the last 8 weeks even though we have not been able to gather in Haven’s sanctuary. We asked you to keep sending your offering so Haven could stay financially sound and ready to continue its mission now and when we are able to come together again.
Our stellar assistant Treasurer, Terry Trovinger, just finished tallying the deposits and payments through April 30th. And we are….. (drum roll please) $353.40 above our projected giving so far this year!  We projected we needed to have $66,603.00 in offerings by this time this year to meet our budget. Through your generosity and conscientiousness we have received $66,956.40.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. AND please continue to send your offerings. It is a testimony to your commitment to honor God’s generosity with grateful giving to our Lord’s church at Haven.

Birthdays:   
Jane Muse & Brian Pile

The Alesandri vs. Pizzini      
Zoom Yahtzee Tournament
Denise – 4 games; 2 sets
Linda (aka Pastor) – 2 games; 0 sets

“WE ARE THE WORLD” 35th ANNIVERSARY it was an iconic song recorded to help raise money for a famine in Africa. It was recorded again in 2010 to benefit Hurricane Relief for Haiti.
Here’s the original official anniversary video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AjkUyX0rVw  . If you need some help remembering who these 1980’s vocalists were, you can watch this version which has a “before and after” photos of the vocalists  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-IdjBqKOm0
Do you remember this song when it first came out in 1985? It was an anthem of hope, calling for us to come together for the sake of the world, especially for those who were suffering. It seems very appropriate for our times, too.

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just *you and me   (*plural “you”)

We need voices that are calm yet passionate, compassionate yet grounded, loving and resilient, commanding but uninterested in personal power. We need voices calling us to unify rather than divide, to accept our differences yet find ways to harmonize rather than try to drown each other out.  Even in this pandemic, our nation can’t seem to keep our eyes on the good of the “we” rather than “me” or an election.
Into that worry, steps Jesus. He tells us to be that voices that are needed to heal, unify, and uphold all persons. And to sing loudly and joyfully, “We are God’s children,” we are sent to be God’s voice for the sake of the world. Lord, give us courage. Give us kindness and calm. Give us power and heart. We need you Lord, so the world can hear your saving, life-giving voice.

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS

I am on my front porch, which has become my sanctuary from all of the fear and loneliness. I am watching the clouds as they drift and change shape. The sky is so beautiful, the birds are singing, and I somehow feel that all will be right in the world again. I hear young children laughing and playing in a neighboring yard, and it melts my heart. I so love to hear the voices of children. I have a comfortable chair, beautiful flowers to enjoy, and my wind chimes are playing a soothing tune. This is, indeed, a precious moment in time for me. Thanks be to God.
Nancy Newkirk  May 7, 2020

God IS with you. God IS with us.
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: Psalm 66:8-20  (Psalm for the Sixth Sunday of Easter)
 8Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
13I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.

16Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the LORD would not have listened.
19But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
20Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me

Reflection:
“Come and hear…and I will tell what has been done for me.” (vs. 16) The psalmist is interested in telling all who will listen about God’s faithfulness and love. Even  though he considers any troubles as “tests” allowed by God, what the psalmist thinks most important, most extraordinary, most needing acknowledgement and celebration  is God’s “steadfast love for me”(v 20c)  9who has kept us among the living,  and has not let our feet slip.”  God is with “me” and “us.” The psalmist is passionate about the need to give the Lord praise, offerings AND to let others hear about this awesome God
This psalm reminded me of one a hymn that is one of the favorites of residents at the nursing homes I’ve visited to lead worship — “I Love To Tell the Story.” (ELW #661) I wondered if the composer of this song had something in common with our psalmist.
As I tried to look up the story behind the song, I found varying details about the woman who wrote the text, Katherine Hankey (1834-1911) Most agree that she was born into a family both devout and prosperous.  Her family was Anglicans of the Clapham Sect. This group helped to establish the British and Foreign Bible Society, promoted the abolition of slavery, and was involved in improving the lot of England’s working classes. At age 18, Kate moved to London to teach a Bible class for factory girls and do other service ministry. She continued for more than a decade until, at the age of thirty, she became seriously ill.  She was forced to cease work and endure bed rest for a year.  During that time, she wrote a very long poem about the life of Christ—one hundred verses. The first part she entitled, “A Story Wanted” and the second part, “A Story Told.”
Englishman Major General Russell cited the text of “I Love to Tell the Story” at a large international YMCA gathering in Montreal.  (Does anyone find it ironic that a woman’s poem was read at a YMCA gathering?) “William Doane, a composer of more than 2000 gospel songs including music for many of Fanny Crosby’s hymns, was in the audience. He put the first part of her poem to music in a hymn entitled, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story.” In 1869, composer William G. Fisher, used the second portion of Hankey’s poem to compose the words of a refrain and the music for the hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story.” In the mid 1870s it would begin to make its way into hymnals.
So it seems the words of “I Love to Tell the Story” originally arose from a time Katherine Hankey could have felt her faith “tested” during a serious illness. Like the psalmist, she chose instead to delve into her faith and Biblical understandings and came out offering thanks and praise for God’s saving work for “me” and “us.” She looked over the life of Jesus and her own life experiences as his followers. Katherine Hankey came to be eager, like the psalmist, to “share the story” “Come and hear…and I will tell what has been done for me.” (Psalm 66:16)
Why do we love the story and truth of Jesus Christ? Why are we called to share it? Hankey and Fischer would say: “Because I know ’tis true”; because “it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do”; because “some have never heard the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word”; and because “those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” And how would we answer?

Prayer: God of awesome deeds and unfailing love, you bring your people through the waters of salvation to the shores of new life. We hunger and thirst for you and you freely free, love and lead us to abundant life and living. Hear our prayer, receive the praise we offer, and loosen our tongues to tell with joy the great things you have done for us through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Music
:
“I Love to Tell the Story” ELW #661
acapella https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYm2VgBWe80
congregational singing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onJLwQS8dR0
Alan Jackson, country western https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrCpKa_xOcE

Some virtual handbell pieces form Nancy Newkirk:
“Blessed Assurance” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRjEMtxfc0c&feature=youtu.be
“Kum Ba Yah” (virtual) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtF2kzXPRuo&feature=youtu.be