Message from Pastor Alessandri April 8, 2020


20 April 8 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)


April 8, 2020

The Peace of the Lord IS with you.

AT-HOME PRAYER VIGIL God’s blessings to those of you who will designate a time today to pray for those in need — those on Haven’s prayer list and those that arise in your mind and heart.  May your time of prayer enrich your Holy Week journey.

TOMORROW WE BEGIN THE TRIDIUM (“three days”) — the days of Holy Week that lead us from Lent to Easter. The Triduum usually begins with the evening Holy Communion liturgy on Maundy Thursday and concludes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. It is considered a single unified observance of Christ’s redemptive passage from crucifixion to burial and Resurrection.

At Haven we have traditionally commemorated the Triduum with communion services on Maundy Thursday (including the stripping of the altar & sanctuary in the evening); Good Friday Tenebrae services (a reading of the passion story interspersed with hymns, prayers and extinguishing candles); and finally the joyous Easter Sunday worship with bombastic hymns and holy communion.

It feels very odd and somewhat disorienting not to have these services together. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday pull us into the events, emotions and meaning of those final days of Jesus, his passion and his death. During these days, we leave our eyes open to witness the betrayal, cruelty, mob mentality, and self-serving leadership that led to the suffering Jesus experienced for the sake and salvation of all humanity. When you’ve walked through the darkness of Good Friday, the light and good news of Easter seems even more amazing and meaningful.

Today I will attach one pastor’s suggestion for celebrating a Maundy Thursday meal in your home.
(Foot washing, optional) If you live alone, you could perhaps invite someone(s) to share a meal via skype or zoom or another computer-style way of being together. If not formally, perhaps you can talk with some folks about special meals, holy communion and other Maundy Thursday services you valued and remember. Think today, of how to mark tomorrow as a special day of Holy Week — a day apart within these challenging coronavirus times in which we recall Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, giving us the gift of holy communion and then being arrested.  Ah, Holy Jesus.

(If you have any special ideas for at-home Maundy Thursday or Good Friday commemorations, please send them to me at I will include them in tomorrow’s Haven message.)

MAUNDY THURSDAY AND GOOD FRIDAY WORSHIP AT 7 P.M. This Holy Week, we can still worship together with our other DE-MD Synod brothers and sisters on-line. The synod bulletins and videos will be available on the Digital Worship page of their website ( To access the bulletins and videos when they are posted, scroll down the synod’s homepage to “Digital Worship” and click on it).  You can also watch these services on the synod Facebook page (DelawareMaryland Synod) or the synod’s YouTube station ( then put “Delaware-Maryland Synod” in the search line

SIGHT AND SOUND THEATER BROADCAST OF “JESUS”. Some of you have mentioned going to the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA. Abigail Andrews passed this news that might enrich your Holy Week: “I just talked with one of my best friends from Messiah, and she told me that Sight and Sound Theater was going to broadcast a performance of Jesus on TV this weekend.  I did some research, and found out that the show will be on TBN, or Trinity Broadcasting Network (Antietam Broadband channel 97) this Saturday at 1:00 PM.  Apparently, it can also be watched from April 10th-12th on TBN’s website,  More information can be found on Sight and Sound’s website, and the website

INTERFAITH PRAYERS IN DIFFICULT TIMES Some of you may not know that Haven member, Valerie Wills is also a Co-coordinator of the Washington County Interfaith Coalition. Yesterday, she posted these prayers. With permission, I share them with you. Thank you, Valerie


Hindu 260

O Lord give me strength

that the whole world

look to me with eyes

Of a friend.  Let us ever

examine each other with the eyes of a friend


Islam 267O,

With certainty in my heart,

sincerity in my actions (and peace of mind,)

spaciousness in the means of my living,

And gratitude to You

I am alive.

Alive in body and spirit, with gratitude and certainty that we are loved and our beloveds know our love for them.  Careful, yet deeply trusting, we connect to our humanity and our community—although from a distance…and without the embraces we yearn to share.  We welcome each other into our hearts and bless them with prayer.  May we find peace in the certainty of the spark of life…with us in the past…and with us now in times of fear and anxiety.   Amen.

Reverend Valerie Wills

SIDEWALKS ON HAVEN ROAD The city of Hagerstown has begun putting in a sidewalk up Haven Road. To accomplish that, we were asked to allow them to close two of our entrances as they worked. The Property Team agreed, as long as entrances were open when we are able to gather again for worship. One entrance will remain open to allow on-going access to the building, yards and gardens. The sidewalk will provide some much-needed safety for those who walk from the neighborhood to Pennsylvania Avenue.

May the Lord bless you this sometimes sunny and sometimes rainy days of Spring, It is a Godsighting for me. The winter, the wilderness, the stay-at-home necessity will not last forever. Spring and Easter will not be stopped or thwarted. New and renewed life is ours, through God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit — Amen.

With continuous hope and relying on our faithful Lord,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri    


Today is the Jewish holy day of Passover, the celebration of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This year the Passover season begins on the Wednesday of the Christian Holy Week observance. These celebrations share more than calendar dates. I mention one here.

In three of the gospels, the “Last Supper” which we commemorate on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week) was said to be a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his death. In John’s gospel, there is no explicit mention that the Last Supper was a Passover meal. Instead, John presents the official Jewish Passover feast as beginning in the evening a few hours after the death of Jesus. In the devotion from Luther Seminary’s “God Pause,” you will learn the reason John may have had for this difference.

On this first day of the Passover season, please pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters who will be celebrating the traditional family Seder Meal separated from one another in these Covid-19 times. May this Passover celebration of God’s faithfulness and gift of liberation fortify their faith and strengthen them to persevere through this wilderness time, until we are again freed to gather together for worship.

 Exodus 12:1–4, [5–10], 11–14 (NRSV)


12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.

11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations, you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.


John the Baptizer bore witness to Jesus with the words, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The mysterious title “Lamb of God” recalled the merciful deliverance of the exodus, in which every household was to sacrifice a “whole lamb … without blemish.” With some of the blood of the lamb they were to mark each house, so that the angel of death might pass over that household. And they were to eat the lamb dressed for a journey, ready to escape—traveling clothes on, boots laced up, staff in hand.

John’s words of witness also foretold Christ’s sacrificial death—according to the Gospel of John, Jesus was crucified at noon on the day of preparation for the Passover celebration, the exact time when the lamb was sacrificed. The symbolism is clear: Jesus’ death sets us free from the power of sin, death, and every force that defies God’s love.


Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadow o’er me. Amen.    (“Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” ELW #335)

Rolf Jacobson ’91 M.Div.

Professor of Old Testament and Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology, and Ministry, Luther Seminary

“Lamb of God” ELW #336
(Twila Paris, composer)
(Choral Rendition) (Haven’s Choir has done this beautifully, too)
(Acapella rendition)

“Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” (Choral)