Message from Pastor Alessandri April 2, 2020

20April 2 Message from Pastor Alessandri (click for pdf)

April 2, 2020

The Peace of the Lord IS with You!

Well, I “ZOOMed” well yesterday with the Washington County Conference clergy. I only got disconnected once when my computer said my wi-fi was not available — which was a lie. But who can tell a computer that? It was good to see faces and hear voices. I will be signing Haven up for a ZOOM account this week. If the Council or any other Haven group would like to “meet,” we will have an account to allow that to happen. I don’t know about you, but I seem to be learning alot lately about possibly useful technology that is available but I knew little to nothing about. I guess that is one good thing to have happened out of our Covid-19 times — We are learning new ways to stay connected AND realizing how important our connection and our community are to us.

WORSHIP UPDATE  Steve Pastena and I are planning on pre-recording a Palm Sunday Prelude to post for this Sunday. It will have prayer, hymns on the organ and a closing prayers. We’re calling it a “prelude” because we hope you will  listen to the Haven recording at 9:30 am and then tune into the DE-MD Synod Palm Sunday worship service at 10 am. Since both will be pre-recorded, you could choose to do it any time. But there is something about the idea of knowing others are sitting “with” us in their homes at the same time that is reassuring. (And no one can see if you are in your PJ’s, you have bed head, you’re drinking coffee or holding the cat.)

FAVORITE PALM SUNDAY OR HOLY WEEK HYMNS We sent out a request yesterday for folks to tell us their favorite Palm Sunday or Holy Week Hymns We’ll take your replies until 12 noon on Friday. Here are the replies we have heard so far:

“All Glory, Laud and Honor” – 4

“O Sacred Head Now Wounded” – 2
“The Palms” – 1
“Ah, Holy Jesus” – 1

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” – 1

“The Old Rugged Cross” – 1

Send your favorite to me at l.alessandri1035@gmail.com or to the church office at havenoffice@havenlc.org. (No more than 2 please)

HOLY WEEK WORSHIP  Here’s the latest news from our synod about Holy Week worship:

“We had planned to offer joint Holy Week Services with the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod. The timing of the Maryland Governor’s Executive Orders made that impossible to logistically pull off. However, with real gratitude to Deacon Julie Stecker, Pastor Tamika Jancewicz, Pastor Jason Chesnut, Mr. Uriah Moore, Ms. Una Brown and Ms. Christina Fahey, we were able to film all of the Holy Week services on Monday before the 8 p.m. deadline! With the hospitality of Epiphany (Baltimore) and the use of their many worship spaces – indoors and outside – Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Services, with really great music, will be offered during Holy Week. The Sunday services will go live on FacebookYouTube and the synod website at 10 a.m., and the weekday services at 7 p.m. We will share this information on our Facebook page too.”

SIGN-UP FOR THE SYNOD E-NEWSLETTER  I would strongly encourage you to sign up for the DE-MD Synod newsletter. Each week the bishop is putting out a newsletter with updates on Covid-19 for the church. It has good information that he has received from Delaware and Maryland government liaisons and from the ELCA Advocacy Office*. Bishop Gohl always has an encouraging word or prayer. You can sign up  at https://demdsynod.org/   Once at the website, scroll down the page to where it says, “Subscribe to the E-Letter.” It will ask for your name and e-mail.

* As we all know, information and interpretation of government orders can change quickly. If something changes from what was posted in the newsletter, the change will be placed on the DE-MD Synod Facebook page.

Stay safe. Stay well.

God IS with you. God IS with us.

Pastor Linda M Alessandri

 

A Pause with God’s Word

Read:  Matthew 21: 1-11

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Reflection:  I always wish we could eavesdrop on the conversation between the disciples and the owner of the donkey they were “hijacking.” In Luke’s gospel, the owner asks, “Why are you untying the cold?” The disciples repeat what Jesus told them to say, “The Lord needs it.” (Luke 19: 30-34) But was it really that easy? Not many of us would relinquish our property to someone simply because they said, “The Lord needs it.” Maybe, if we knew the person and believed them trustworthy. Maybe.

I know this is not the main point of this story, but it is a detail that captured me today. As I wandered into that wonder, I arrived at two thoughts. First, there are so many nameless persons who had a role in the ministry and mission of Jesus. The part he or she plays may not seem essential or particularly important yet it is somehow needed or necessary. Lending a donkey may seem a small thing but here we are thousands of years later still recalling Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem upon a donkey. Not a horse, like a “proper” king would demand, but a humble donkey.
Think of all the countless “nameless saints” that have helped in countless little and big ways to carry on God’s saving mission in the world. Indeed, YOU are likely one of them. (Oh, yes, you!)

My second thought led me toward another truth. When the Lord asks us to do something, the Lord provides what is necessary. It may not be what we might think is necessary or on the timeline we want, yet when it is God’s will and call, the Lord will provide what is needed. Understand me, I’m not talking about God raining cash or donkeys. God usually provides through us, people who have been opened by the love of God and are open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. It’s how the hungry are fed, teens go on mission trips, and children we don’t know have gifts on Christmas. It’s why I can say, “It’s Offering Time” in worship and you respond “Praise God!” To be a part of God providing for the healing, feeding, and saving of the world is a wonderfully, meaningful thing.

Prayer:  Lord, you continue to surprise us. You choose to use the humble and everyday to do your work. You open hearts, hands, minds and pocketbooks to provide what is needed for the next step in the mission you lay out for us. We thank you for your trust in us. We ask you keep our eyes opened to your ways, that we may continue to serve you as we serve our neighbor in the name of your gospel of love and grace. Amen

Music:

Nancy Newkirk shared this song yesterday. It starts with only one yet… “Down to the River”

https://youtu.be/BumCkswUUDA

“Will You Come and Follow Me” (The Summons) ELW #798 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o469PRLdbHU