May 4, 2020 ~ Message from Pastor Alessandri

 

May 4, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 4

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

Another gorgeous Saturday. I hope you were able to enjoy it in some way and give God a praise.
The garden area in front of the education wing and the garden by the steps leading to the Gathering Room have been planted. They enjoyed the rains we had last week. We are still waiting for the vegetable garden to be tilled. Spring is such a hopeful season. Season your day with the hope that can be seen in blooming flowers and trees, children outside playing, and stories of goodness, kindness and generosity during these difficult times. Be a sign of hope — wave at folks as they pass by and say “good morning” or “good afternoon” to those you pass in the grocery store — a tiny step in reminding ourselves that we are connected and standing together even while social distancing.

GARDENING ANYONE?
Let us know if you’d like a patch in the vegetable garden summer.
IF you want to get outside in the warm weather, the other garden beds at Haven could use some weeding love. There are still leaves that need to leave in the parsonage backyard, too. Bags for yard waste are on the back porch of the parsonage. Filled yard waste bags can be left at the curb in front of the parsonage on Tuesday or by the garbage cans by the parsonage to be put out the following Tuesday. Here’s a way to safely be out of your house, into the Spring AND help the church look nice.

WORSHIP FEEDBACK We hope you were blessed by Sunday’s worship. Each week we make adjustments or may try something new. We are anxious to be sure the quality of the picture and the sound is adequate and does not distract from being able to worship. Could you hear well this past Sunday for example? If not, were there portions that were more difficult to hear than others? We will not always be able to resolve every issue raise, but we are interested in doing our best to make our taped worship accessible and meaningful. Thank you for your help. Thank you for continuing to include weekly worship in your week.

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS
Dear Pastor,  The 23rd is my favorite Psalm. I used it years ago when I first began to pray with Scripture–working through just a couple verses at a time.  I love Good Shepherd Sunday and am so sorry we won’t be together in person this year to celebrate. Please know that Don and I will be with you in spirit on Sunday morning; do take care of yourself.
Love,
Beth and Don

I believe the sun does miracles to the mind! Feeling caustically optimistic about ways to keep connected without dwelling on the isolation and life without hugs from my sister!  So thankful Rebecca likes hugs
Amy Mason

Thankful to God for a glimpse of natural beauty in the midst of a gray season – a scarlet tanager, one of the most beautiful birds in the area with bright red plumage (males) trimmed with jet black wings, was bathing Friday afternoon in a puddle near Hager House.  Generally, they perch in treetops and are very difficult to spot.  But this one was only about six feet (proper social distancing!) from me allowing me to appreciate his beauty for several seconds before he took off to more familiar surroundings.

Pr. Dave Kaplan (picture of the Scarlet Tanager is on the pdf attached above)

Today, I am working in my church office. It feels a bit strange but wonderfully comfortable. I’ve looked out these windows and fussed with the piles on my desk for 13 years. It’s a reminder that while “normal” is a very relative term right now, there will be a day when we will again share this space called Haven. Until then, we are Haven deployed throughout the region to be God’s church wherever we are. Following the safety guidelines is but one way you are doing God’s work for the sake of all. Keep up the good work.

God’s peace IS with you,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16  (Psalm for the Fifth Sunday of Easter)
1In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
2Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
3You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
15My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

Reflections:
The Psalmist is in the midst of a very troubling time. There is the call for God to rescue and deliver There also seems to be an understanding that the psalmist has a part to play, too, as s/he asks the Lord to lead and guide. It’s a good model for prayer.
We turn to God with our needs, concerns, and requests. As then we listen to God, we are often led to see how we are part of answered prayers. Prayers for good health may include a nudge from God to eat better and take more walks. Prayers for another’s healing may be served by driving them to appointments, calling or sending cards or helping with a chore. When we pray to end hunger or homelessness, it is us who are to be God-at-work to answer that prayer. During this pandemic, we pray for lives to be saved and for the virus to be slowed, contained and eventually prevented. We are drawn into that prayer’s answered by doing our part in social distancing, staying at home as much as possible, wearing masks and washing our hands.
Prayer is not simply dumping my wishes on the Lord, wiping my hands clean and waiting for the magic to happen. Yes, miracles do happen. Perhaps one of those miracles is when our prayer awakens us to God’s will and wisdom. Prayer pulls me toward adjusting and aligning my desires to God’s saving and loving ways. When my heart is open to God’s will and ways, I see differently. My prayer may change. I may see more clearly what is my part in a prayer’s answer.
It is clear that the Psalmist has learned to trust in the Lord, even when “enemies and persecutors”  are threatening. “You have redeemed, O Lord, faithful God.” In the midst of praying for deliverance from the current problems, the Psalmist remembers…. Remembers that the Lord has rescued and delivered God’s servant before…. Remembers God’s faithful presence before this time… remembers God’s steadfast, eternal love. Remembering all that God is and has done, the Psalmist leans into God, in the current trouble, as a refuge, a rock, and a fortress where there is hope, assurance and peace. Indeed, when our fearful selves can find a haven in God, we are much more ready to face the circumstances with the power and wisdom of God.
Prayer  (Psalm 31 Prayer)
O Lord our God, our times are in your hand. You saved your chosen one, Jesus Christ, when he commended himself to you. Let your face shine on all who suffer persecution, and give our hearts courage to confront evil. Lead us and guide us through all our weary years, that we may praise you for the wonders of your love; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Music:
From Amy Mason:
“Start a Fire” Unspoken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrEzr-rWwe8&app=desktop

From Carol Shull
“There Was Jesus”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37wV6D49iEY&feature=youtu.be

From Jamie Cannon:
Who would have thought “The Boss” (Bruce Springsteen) sang, “This Little Light of Mine”?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qAYq1GVec