May 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

May 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

 

May 19, 2020

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

Welcome to Tuesday. Yesterday the Haven Re-opening Team met in the morning and the Council met at night. Both groups were full of good questions, observations and suggestions. The common theme was to go forward wisely and safely for the sake of love of neighbor. We are so blessed here at Haven with such good folks who bring a variety of backgrounds, talents, interests and insight. Together we will study the best practices and CDC recommendation, work out the practical issues and work together to enact them… then we will likely have to tweek, adjust, try again and repeat. And hopefully we will laugh a lot, find our way through the awkwardness and notice how the Lord is with us in small and major ways. Keep praying, praising and passing on hope.

PRAYERS REQUESTED Last night John Britton, Jr was flown from Meritus Hospital to Johns Hopkins Hospital for further testing and diagnosis. In these times when family members may not go into the hospitals, it is really hard on both the patient and the family. The additional geographical distance just seems to magnify that separation. Please pray for John Jr, his mom and dad, Cliff and Sue Britton and the rest of his family. May the Lord guide the hands, inspire the minds and enhance the skills of all who will provide care and bring healing to John Jr.

GOOD NEWS Jean Carbaugh reports that her husband’s heart procedure was successful. Surgery on Friday. Released from ICU on Saturday and home on Sunday. Fritz will need to take it easy for a period of time and return for a post-op visit on June 2. On a sadder note, today is the funeral service for Jean’s sister, Linda Henry. Jean wrote that for the graveside service, everyone will be required to stay in cars until the immediate family is seated. Others can stay in their cars for gravesite service or stand at a distance behind family. Please keep Jean, Fritz and her sister’s family in prayer.

HAVEN GRADUATES?  We know that Anna Bergschnieder is graduating this year from North High. Are there other Haven members graduating from high school or college?

I am going to go out early today to scout for vegetable plants for my rows in the Haven Garden. Wish me luck. I’m thinking tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. I’m wondering about putting a spaghetti squash or watermelon plant in one of the beds in the back of the parsonage. Either of those need lots of room to spread out. Last year my spaghetti squash plant invaded the gardens of some of my nearby garden buddies. It was like a sci-fi movie, the Invasion of the Squash, but no aliens were hatched. Oh, and I need to buy some marigolds to plant around the edge of the garden — bunnies don’t like them I am told.

I will pray that you know some joy this day and many moments of God’s peace. God IS with you!

Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD
Read: Psalm 68: 1-10, 32-35
1Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
2As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
3But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.
4Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds —
his name is the LORD —
be exultant before him.
5Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.
7O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
8the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
10your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
32Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the LORD,
33O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.
35Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!

Reflection
When you begin to read this psalm you hear a people singing praise to God for a great triumph over enemies. It almost reads like “My Dad can beat up your Dad” boast. The peoples are told to be joyful and exult the mighty power of God. But then comes a surprise. The LORD who is to be exalted for his might is identified not as a thundering warrior but:
“5Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity”

God is praised as the God who protects the vulnerable and provides for the needy. The Lord who led the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to their own land, is not a war god primarily interest in using power to subjugate others by force or the threat of annihilation.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… the God who would be most perfectly reveal in Jesus is a God who cares powerfully for those often ignored, rejected or living on the edge of acceptance and survival.

Professor J. Clinton McCann (WorkingPreacher.org) makes this comment: “Psalm 68 invites the people of God in all times and places to praise God by practicing the same compassion that characterizes God’s activity in the world. Only those who practice divine compassion can rightly claim that “God is on our side.” … Thus the power given to the people is the strength to “fight” for protection of the vulnerable, provision for the dispossessed, and liberation for the oppressed.”

The power of God is rooted and directed by love. We are used to those who lust and vie for power so they have what they want, to do what they want and make others serve their agenda, comfort and ego. Jesus showed us the power of compassion for the least, the lost and the last. Jesus showed us the power of a love for others (even those who would kill him) that would rather lay down his life than do harm or incite violence. So why do we praise the power of God share with us in baptism and through the Holy Spirit? It is the power and strength God shares with us to “fight” for the protection of the vulnerable, provision for those with no security and liberation for the oppressed.

Prayer: Let us sing your praised with lives of compassion. Give us the courage and resolve to care for the neglected, rejected and vulnerable. Give us the power to pursue justice, peace and enough for all. Give us the joy of living in your will and being connected to your saving work. Amen

Music:

“God of Grace and God of Glory” ELW #705 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyQKHAkgMe8

“His Love Endures Forever” Michael W. Smith  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGTZq3uCPm0
(live version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks86XlVKaB8

Suggested by Valerie Wills and Haven friend, Lois Young
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
A virtual Choir & Orchestra (300 participants from 15 countries) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gpoJNv5dlQ&feature=youtu.be