May 13, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

May 13, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 13, 2020

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

THE WILDS OF THE PARSONAGE I have two rabbits who have been visiting in the backyard. Where there are two, there are potentially more, right? Well, I have told them they are welcome, especially if they keep eating the violets and weeds. I’m hoping to persuade them to stay here and away from Haven’s Garden. Just don’t know if they will listen, despite those big ears.
I finally got the courage to look in the bushes of my front garden to see if Mama Duck or a nest was there. Nothing. Just a good pile of leaves that were probably cushy and warm. Maybe next year.

MORE SILLINESS The Pine Hills Community Center somewhere in Colorado has taken to posting puns on its sign. WARNING – these are bad, very bad. You will either be laughing a lot or groaning. Either way, enjoy!

Turning Vegan would be a big miss steak.
I have a chicken proof lawn. It’s impeccable.
Crushing pop cans is soda pressing.
I’m terrified of elevators and I’m taking steps to avoid them.
Cows have hooves because they lactose.
HUGE fight at local seafood dinner!  Battered fish everywhere.
I’m friends with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know Y.
Dogs can’t operate MRI scanners. But catscan

Okay, I’ll stop, I’ll stop. I wonder if we might post some humor like this on our digital sign just to offer a smile to those who pass in these times. What do you think?

 

Barbara Miller & Ethan Rhodes

 

It’s Jean Carbaugh’s
Baptismal Anniversary
(Please keep Jean and
her family in prayer.
Jean’s youngest sister
is under hospice care

 and her husband, Fritz,
has had his heart surgery
rescheduled for this Friday.)

GRATITDE & GODSIGHTINGS
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. In spite of social distancing, it has been lovely so far: sandwiches from Saffron Bakery. two bouquets of flowers, a couple plates of cookies, and some things for supper – and lots of cards and phone calls! I have been well loved.    Sue Nelson

One of the arms of my eyeglasses disconnected from the rest. As a stocking stuffer last Christmas, my sister gave me an eyeglass repair kit. Miraculously, I found it and opened it to find a tiny tweezer, screwdriver and extra screws — just what I needed. Now to find my reading glasses so I might see these tiny items. Twenty minutes, fumbling fingers, three screws flying in the air to disappear on the ground and escalating frustration, I decided I would have to take them to the eyeglass store to get them fixed, IF they were open. (Yes, they were open by appointment only.)
As I read, listen and watch the news, I’m hearing that same frustration. We all SO much want to be able to “fix it.” Fix Covid-19. Fix its treatment. Fix its spread. Fix the economy. Fix our interrupted schools, work, worship and lives. And not only do we want to fix it, we want to fix it NOW. Most of the time we have felt like we have inadequate vision, supplies and fumbling hands and no pandemic store to take it to for a fix.
Frustration can unleash anger, despair and fear. I think we are hearing all of these sentiments in our public discourse. We are not at our best when in the grips of anger, despair or fear. We can’t see, hear or imagine the bigger picture and future with hope, creativity and compassion. When we are angry, despairing or fearful we become rigid and unwilling to even consider another view or possibility.
So I will often turn off the news, trying not to “catch” the virus of welling anger, despair, fear or division. I will take a walk if it is nice outside. I will find a book, magazine, or program that will make me laugh or see the good around me. I will call folks to connect in love. I will pray. And pray. And pray some more. I pray that I may not be consumed by anything but the love of God and God’s love for all of us. I pray that each of you are safe, well and know you are loved by the one and only, the most faithful and generous, the untamable and yet most loving Lord. I pray our nation can find a way to unite rather than divide over which party, philosophy of government, or special interest is “right.” I pray that we will be able to come together, respecting our differences, and work for the protection, health, livelihood and good of all people. Lord, how we want you to “fix” the mess.

But, Lord, you have chosen to work through us, with our questionable tools, fumbling fingers, tiny screws flying and flaring feelings. Yet you do not call us to a mission without providing what is needed. We DO see you, Lord, working in the Medical staffs, first responders, hospital support workers, scientists, and those staffing government programs of aid and advise. We DO see you at work in the individuals and groups who have tried to be generous and life-giving in these challenging times. There is no quick fix. But there is you, Lord, and your certain promises of faithfulness and steadfast love. Help us trust in you, that we may be lights of hope and people of love for the healing and unity of your world. Amen.

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

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD
Read: Acts 17: 22-29
22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’
29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.

Reflection:
(Reflection and prayer prepared by Heidi Hyland Mann, Editorial  Coordinator, of “God Pause,” an on-line devotion of Luther Seminary)

I wonder what Paul would say in a similar speech to us: “Americans, I see how extremely religious you are in every way.” Then perhaps he would name how some of us are “religious” about exercise, or work, some about checking email, others about sports. We might “religiously” keep a clean house (though I’m afraid that’s not me!), follow a certain diet, limit our kids’ screen time, or—especially now—wash our hands.

Then I imagine Paul reminding us: these things to which we devote (note the language of religion) so much time, energy, and even money are nothing compared to “the God who made the world and everything in it.” He would reassure us that God “gives . . . life and breath and all things,” including love, without our needing to earn it. That said, God longs to be in relationship with us, yearns for us to “search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from . . . us.” And in fact, when we reach out in our own craving to know the “Lord of heaven and earth,” we discover God right here, with us already. Continuously. Devotedly. Religiously.

Prayer:
God, help me devote myself to you above all else, as important as other things may be. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

Music:

“Knowing You Jesus” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTTlSx6zXio
“Devoted to You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGndPHJKOGE
“Ever Be” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhasSpSBdEE
(a bit rockier version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZDyMJhd4Bo

From Carol Shull: (You will love it!)
“The Blessing” sung by Kids https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiWZXLsdE9w&feature=youtu.be