Message from Pastor Alessandri March 27, 2020

Message from Pastor Alessandri March 27, 2020 (click for pdf)

March 27, 2020

The Peace of the Lord be with you!

Yesterday I “attended” my second Zoom meeting with Bishop Gohl and rostered ministers of the DE-MD Synod. The Bishop has set up this weekly meeting with pastors and deacons to share updates and encourage us to share concerns, resources and suggestions. I was uplifted by several particular messages.

The church is NOT closed. The church building is closed. The church —- the people of God — are still being church, even in these circumstances. The church is still doing God’s work. People are caring for their community with phone calls, by dropping off food and perscriptions, seeking ways to be helpful. The church is continuing to share God’s word and worship, even if it is on-line. The pastor, staff and members are still doing ministry. The church is NOT closed. The church building is closed.

Another message: Easter is NOT cancelled. Our worship service on Easter may not be held but that does not stop Easter from coming. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the celebration of God’s victory over sin and death. It is a celebration that is not confined to one day but infuses each of our days with joy, hope and life-giving possibilities. Easter can not be cancelled. Jesus is Risen.

WORSHIP UPDATE  Pray for us as we try our first “taping” of worship on Saturday. We know we will learn and we hope God will be glorified and you will be blessed. It will be posted on Haven’s Facebook page and our website and you can view it at any time. (Though, 9:30 am on Sunday would be especially nice.) Tomorrow we will send out the “bulletin” for the service.

WORSHIP UPDATE II Yesterday at the synod Soom meeting, several asked about having a “drive-in” Easter worship like I had suggested in yesterday’s e-note. The DE-MD Synod liason with the Governor’s office is going to check on whether that would be considered a violation of the no more than 10 at any gathering. Stay tune.
Other churches have decided that whatever Sunday we will be able to gather together again will be an Easter season celebration with all those great bombastic hymns and the Easter Sunday readings. That does sound lovely.

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER WORSHIP ON-LINE The worship services being prepared and taped by the DE-MD and Metro DC synod for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter promises to be well-done, as they safely bringing together musical and worship resources to make it special. No, it will not be the same as being able to be togehter, but it will be a way to walk with Jesus through Holy Week to Easter.

HAVE SOME CABIN FEVER AND WANT A BIT OF EXERCISE? In the tele-conference yesterday, one pastor said congregation members have been showing up to do yard work around their building. It is not a group of people but individuals coming at their convenience to rake or weed. You are certainly welcome to do so at Haven IF you feel it is safe for your health to do so. I will put yard bags on the parsonage back porch if you get itchy to be out in a yard. Any filled bags can be put on the grass at the end of my driveway to be picked up on Wednsday. Again, ONLY if you feel it’s safe and you practice good social distancing.

NOTES OF GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS  (Send yours in to encourage us all.)

We are grateful for food and Michael’s ability to keep feeding us meals  that so far we haven’t grown tired of eating! Even leftovers are usually fun.                      Amy

Pastor Alessandri’s daily messages & words of inspiration & Pastor Kaplan’s reflections. They are so welcome & helpful in getting through this difficult time.                Elaine 

I will not be sending out a note on Saturday or Sunday, though we will send out the bulletin for Haven’s Sunday worship today or Saturday. I remind you that in additon to Haven’s on-line worship, you can view the DE-MD Synod Sunday service at 10 a.m. The bulletin for that service is on the DE-MD Synod website. https://demdsynod.org/    Then click on CO-VID 19 Response and it will take you to the bulletin and link you to the service when it is aired. All the Sunday and Wednesday synod services  remain available so you can view them at any time.

Stay well. Call someone. Laugh. Marvel at the unfolding Spring. Take a walk. Pet your dog or cat. Talk to God. Turn off the news and  put aside your phone for part of each day and simply rest in God’s peace and certain love.
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A Pause with God’s Word

Read: John 11:
28When she[Martha] had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she [Mary] heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Reflection:  “Jesus wept.” When asked to select a verse to recite aloud at their confirmation, many a student tried to get away with choosing John 11: 35. It didn’t usually fly with the pastor since he or she knew it was chosen for its brevity not as expression of faith.
Yet, “Jesus wept” is a powerful statement. I once presided at a funeral in which two adult siblings had died together in an automobile accident. There had been a shadow over the circumstances of the crash. When I asked what Bible verses they wanted to include in the funeral service, the family chose John 11:35 for the gospel reading, “Jesus wept.”
What brought them comfort amid the tragic, unexplainable events was knowing that God grieved with them, Jesus cried with them at the seemingly senseless loss of life. They knew asking “why” was a dark hole that would not lead them anywhere helpful. Clinging to the goodness, compassion and tears of God who was with them, would be the solid ground on which they could stand and make their way through their sorrow.

Prayer:  As we watch the news and hear infection and death numbers increase, we can feel our tension rise and a lump of sorrow or panic in our throats or gut. You grieve our sorrows, too, Lord. You weep with us, even though you know, like Jesus did, that you will bring light out of darkness and life out of death. Help us to feel your comfort and trust in your resurrection power. Amen.

Act: Defy fear or anxiety. Do something for pure fun. Let joy have a place in your heart and day.

Music offering:  “Safe” Phil Wickham  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW8r-5kCDY
“Blessed Assurance” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDeiy9-t2GE