May 8, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

May 8, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 8, 2020

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

OOOPS — I MESSED UP! I forgot to say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY! TANAYA RICHARDS” yesterday and HAPPY BAPTISMAL ANNIVERSARY, JENSEN RICHARDS. Tanaya I hope it was a good one, even in these circumstances.  What a great birthday gift to have your “baby girl” baptized on your birthday.  Jensen, blessings on the anniversary of your baptism — What a wonderful child of God you are!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRUE YELINEK On Sunday, you will have to imagine the applause celebrating your birthday if we were in church. You still might hear an echoing of it as we clap in our homes.

Usually I have a plant, chocolate or another treat for our mothers at church. So you who are sheltering in place with someone who is a mother, I’m expecting you to pick up the slack. Yes, there are limitations — no going out to supper or going to a store for a gift. But gratitude can be expressed in many ways — a note from the heart, getting her coffee or tea in the morning, providing time to just relax as she wishes, ordering supper to be delivered. You can do it! Be sure to call your Mom if she lives elsewhere. And for those of us whose Mom’s are no longer with us, we can still let her know we love her as we lift up our good memories and a prayer of gratitude.  Happy Mother’s Day also to the many women who may not have birthed children themselves but who shared, cared and blessed others with mothering love and care.

WORSHIP AT HAVEN We will be taping the service for the Fifth Sunday of Easter today. It will then be posted, with the bulletin, to premiere on Sunday at 9:30 am. It will then be available to view any time after that via Haven’s website or Facebook page. Include worship in your Sunday with joy as we give God our attention, our songs and our praise.

DE-MD SYNOD COVID-19 ASSISTANCE FUND  Our Synod has set up a fund to help those congregations who may not have the financial resources to continue in the current circumstances. A generous donor has offered up to $100,000 to match any donations made to this fund between now and June 30. #GivingTuesdayNow.  COVID-19 Assistance Fund . Thanks to all who donated on #GivingTuesdayNow, we were able to raise more than $11,000 in one day to help support congregations and ministries needing assistance due to COVID-19. You can make a gift now by going to the DE-MD Synod website at https://demdsynod.org/. Go down the screen and click on the big blue box that says “Give Online.” OR you may also mail a check to the synod office (575 S Charles Street, Suite 202, Baltimore, MD 21201) with “Synod Ministry Fund – COVID-19” in the memo line. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Dave Shank at dshank@demdsynod.org

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS
Earlier today as I was making a peanut butter sandwich I came down to the last two pieces of bread in the wrapper and they both happened to be what we would call the heels. While I was making the sandwich I was thinking this loaf of bread was like the Bible it has a beginning and an ending and a lot of chapters in between being the slices.
All the slices coming together to make that loaf and to nourish our body.
As Christians we get nourished not only by that loaf of bread but also the bread of life that God has given us
I bet next time you make a sandwich you’ll think about this.
Danny Kiblinger

Marge Cunningham received this posting: (see attachment for picture)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay warm this weekend. Imagine the growing that will can follow after the rain. I plan on a “play date” with my sister for a round of Yahtzee via Zoom. We’ll be able to see each other’s rolls and discreetly NOT mention our “need-a-cut-badly” hair. Hope you find something fun to do, too. And remember….
God’s peace IS with you!
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: John 14: 1- 7 (First the gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Easter)
Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.
 8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

Reflection (From Lutheran Seminary’s God Pause daily devotions; prepared by James L. Boyce)
Jesus has just told his disciples that soon he will be going away. We can feel the anguish and frustration in Thomas’s aching reply: “We don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” These days most of us can probably identify with the anxiety about change and the uncertainty about the future that must have suddenly threatened to overwhelm those disciples. Though not always happy about it, most of us can handle change as long as we have some sense of where it will take us. But not knowing? That’s quite a different matter.

Jesus’ response is not to lay out a road map or a plan to set their hearts at ease. Instead he invites them to set their sights on him: “I am the way . . .” “Place your trust in me.” At every moment, but especially at crossroads of change and uncertainty, the resurrected Lord comforts and encourages his disciples—and us—with the promise of his abiding presence: “Ask for anything you need, and I will do it.”

Verse 13 makes me a bit uneasy. What about unanswered prayers? I found something to ponder in a sermon entitled, “Show Us!” by Rev. Dr. Luke Bouman posted at https://www.theologie.uzh.ch/static/wp/easter-five/I

13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

“What does it mean to do something in someone else’s name?  It means that we carry their authority, but are also accountable to do something the way they would do it if they were present.  If I send my son on an errand and instruct him to tell someone that I sent him, there are several dynamics at play.  First, I trust my son not to abuse this power.  Second, I expect that he will represent me fairly in the transaction.  If I didn’t expect these two things, I would not send him. It is a gift and a responsibility to be sent to do something in someone else’s name.

I think that Jesus is giving his followers, ancient and modern the same gift and responsibility.  Asking for something in Jesus’ name means asking for something consistent with Jesus’ way of being in the world.  Jesus’ way was the way of a humble servant of God.  Jesus’ way was a mission and ministry of healing and hope for the world.  Asking for something selfish or hurtful to others, even if we tack “In Jesus’ name” on the end of the request, is something other than asking in Jesus’ name.  Jesus entrusts the asking to us, as the Body of Christ, to be done in concert with God’s mission to bring healing and hope.  And, of course, when we ask for such things, as the Body of Christ, we are committed to seeing them come to fruition in our world.  Such a request is not only “given” to us, but we are, in the act of asking, committing ourselves to being part of the answer.  And God’s affirmation includes, then, sending us out in the world to be healing and hope, as Jesus was.

So, asking in Jesus’ name, is serious business.  Only those who are prepared to have their lives upended by God and placed in the service of God’s creation should ask in this way.  But the good news is that with God, in Christ, dwelling among us, we have all we need and more to live out the mission to which we are attached in water and word, and equipped in wine, bread, and word.  Living, as the Body of Christ, is where I think Jesus is found.  He has indeed prepared many dwelling places for us in which to carry out this mission:  Houses of worship, homes of the faithful, wherever the Body of Christ gathers, there Jesus has prepared a place.

At no time has it been clearer to me than now, as I write this, staying at home during the time of a pandemic.  The normal gathering places for the church have been disrupted.  People are finding new ways to be the Body of Christ.  But one thing is certain.  God, in Christ, dwells with us all.  We are not alone.  And our mission has not changed.  We find whatever ways we can to offer healing and hope to a people who cling to division and hate, which is what Jesus did.  So, we go, or stay, or do whatever we do, in Jesus’ name and way of being in the world.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have promised that you abide with us in the midst of all our uncertainties and doubts about today and tomorrow. Abide with us this day to ease our fears, and give us confidence to trust that you will lead us into the future. And show us today how to be the Body of Christ today. Amen.

Music:

“We Are One Body” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-3BO_PQbqY
“We Are the Body of Christ” (Praise) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WJL5Ccw3b8
“We All Are One in Mission” ELW 576  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0AmVKrX6xg

“One Bread, One Body” ELW #496   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG9T8UmN6VY