Message from Pastor Alessandri March 23,2020

Message from Pastor Alessandri March 23, 2020 (click here for pdf with printed music)

March 23, 2020

The peace of the Lord be with you!

Did you remember to go to church yesterday? I worshiped using the materials I sent out last Friday and then I tuned into the DE-MD Synod worship at 10 am. Afterwards, I had a “coffee hour,” calling some Haven folks on the phone to wish them peace and see how they were doing. I found it all uplifting. I can’t wait for us to be able to be together again — what a party we need to have when social distancing is no longer required! In the meantime, it was good to know I was in God’s Word, singing and praying with you and with others throughout the DE-MD Synod.

I will be speaking with our music director, Steve Pastena, and our office administrator, Mary Grabill about next Sunday’s worship. Do we try to tape or “livestream” a service from Haven’s sanctuary or do a bulletin again like we did last week, with links to on-line music for the singing? Join us in discerning with your prayers and e-mail comments.

GOOD NEWS Sharron Moser was able to bring her husband, Dick, home last night from Sinai Hospital. Dick had bypass surgery last Monday. Sharon has been in Baltimore with him. Keep them in your prayers.

FOOD ALTERNATIVE If you are looking for a meal that isn’t already in your refrigerator or cupboards, several members have suggested looking into DOORDASH or GRUBHUB. They both are apps you can download on your phone for ordering food from local restaurants that are still serving. I don’t know all the in’s and out’s and there are fees involved, so read carefully. Also, arrange for the delivery person to leave the meal at your door and leave. Follow good health protocols for handling the bag and food containers and disposing of them.

PASTOR’S MONDAY PROJECT Today I will be checking in on our “Connectors” to see how they are doing and to confirm the list of Haven members each has in their “flock.” I want to be sure we have a way to keep connected with all or Haven’s members and “unofficial” members who have been worship with us regularly. Please remember — all of you are God’s beloved and beloved to me, too. I remain available to you by phone — 301-745-4216.

Like the healed blindman in yesterday’s gospel, let us be free to see God’s goodness and presence even now.

God IS with you,
Pastor Linda Alessandri

A Pause with God’s Word

Read  Ephesians 5:8-14 (It was the second reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent)
8Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

  Since we have only been reading the psalm and gospel at Sunday worship, we might have missed this wonderful reading from St. Paul. What a powerful word for our times.
Our Adam and Eve selves find it very difficult to be told what to do — even when it is for our own good and the good of our neighbors. The CDC and Maryland state directives tell us to stay home and when we must go out, practice the six-foot-apart social distancing. It is hard. It strikes us in our national love of liberty and in our human desire to have control.

Into the temptation to “do as we please no matter what anyone says,” comes this reminder: “Live as children of the light — for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” Children of Christ our Light, seek to do “what is pleasing to the Lord” rather than be driven by their own self-centered wills into the darkness, into behaviors that may endanger the health of our neighbors, families, friends and the stranger.

We are God’s children. We are children of the Light, baptized to shine. That means we will seek God’s strength to be light even if it is difficult or inconvenient. We know our God is generous. Our God will pour out strength, goodness and comfort into our struggling souls, so that we can persevere and send away any temptations that would have us turn from the Light of the World.

For Your Reflection: Do you still have that little, battery-powered votive candle we handed out in church? Or maybe the star nightlight from a while back? If not, use any kind of electric or wax candle. Put out this “light” in a place where you can not miss it. When you see it, remember (aloud or silently) “I am a child of the light. Let me shine for you, Lord.”
Each day think of a way you can shine that light — call or write a note to someone; take out the church directory or your own address book and specifically pray for a set number of persons/families each day; send a cartoon, prayer or inspiring reading via text or e-mail; if you take a walk in your neighborhood, pray for the welfare and health of those in each house you pass, even if you do not know them. Even the smallest light matters when life seems shadowed with uncertainty.

Prayer: Lord of Light and Life, help us to reflect You in what we do and what we choose not to do. Pour out your light and goodness into these coronavirus times, that we might see beyond the darkness of fear and uncertainty and be your light for the sake of the world you created and love. Amen.

Music: “Christ Be Our Light” (Another lively rendition by the Nortre Dame Folk Choir)