Message from Pastor Alessandri April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)   20AprilBishopGohl’sMessage (pdf)

April 24, 2020

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

Today, I thought I would share the weekly note from our Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop, Bill Gohl. (See the attachment with his message.) He has been an amazing leader for our synod through the Coronavirus crisis. Bishop Gohl and his staff have provided timely updates on state and federal policies and their implementations, specifically, for churches. He has been busy staying connected to our conferences, churches, rostered leaders, national church and government officials.  He has offered pastor care, worship leadership and encouragement. All this while working at his home, helping two of his four children navigate Covid-19 restrictions and school work and being separated from his wife, Arwyn, and two of his other children who were sheltering in place in another state where they had gone to visit an ailing grandparent.

What I find very meaningful about the Bishop’s message this week, is his honest vulnerability. While we are trying our best to make the best of an unprecedented situation… while we stay hopeful in the Easter resurrection of new and renewed life… while we trust our God and believe we WILL get through this — we need not deny the difficulties, the rollercoaster feelings, the trauma of what we are experiencing.

The Israelite didn’t make it from Egypt to their new land by avoiding or going around the desert. They had to go through the desert with all its uncertainty, challenges, worries, boredom, restrictions and unknowns. There was no other way to get where they were meant to go. And so it is with us. We don’t have to pretend otherwise. This is a hard time. Will we get through this? Yes! And we will be more resilient if we are able to be honest with ourselves, share our feelings and thoughts and be the sounding board for others. More resilient because we will have practiced being aware, thoughtful and responsive to ourselves and others. More resilient because being aware and awake to how we are affected and how we can deal with those effects will better prepare us for whatever we will face in the months ahead.

So yes, please find ways to laugh each day.  See God’s wonder in the spring or a call from a loved one. Read Scripture and pray even when you don’t feel like it. Count your blessings before you fall asleep. Thank the Lord each morning for a new day. AND tend to your tender feelings and frayed nerves with compassion and honesty, knowing it is just part of making it through to the other side. I pray you have more days in which you know contentment, peace and laughter than sadness or anxiety. And I pray that you know, in your heart of hearts, that no matter the feeling or circumstance of the day, God is with you, truly beside you, with all the love and power you need.

The peace of the Lord IS with you,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A Pause in God’s Word

Read: Luke 24: 13- 35
13Now on that same day [when Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene,] two [disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection & Prayer:  (Prepared by Gary Westgard , Retired Clergy, Yankton, South Dakota for
Luther Seminary’s on-line daily devotion, God’s Pause)

Traveling from Washington State to South Dakota, we took a route through North Dakota. Near Medora we stopped. As we were looking around a visitors center, a man came up and said, “Hi, Gary, what are you doing here?” Who was this guy? No idea. He must have noticed my bewilderment, because he said, “Jim. Your cousin.” Of course it was. But I did not recognize him because he should not have been there. He lives in Rugby, not Medora. We live in South Dakota. What are the odds? Same place, same day, same time? He should not have been there.

Neither one of them should have been there. Jim or Jesus. For those disciples, it’s all past tense. “He was a prophet.” “We had hoped.” Of course they did not recognize him. He should not have been there. But he was. And then, in the midst of their bewilderment, when the scriptures are opened, when the bread is broken, they recognize him.

We still do.

Prayer: O Master, let me walk with you in lowly paths of service true; tell me your secrets; help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care. Amen. (ELW 818)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXwXQnsaL3A

Music:
“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ionKh1dL9o0

“We Are Marching in the Light of God” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjwvA7ND-L0