Message from Pastor Alessandri March 31, 2020

20March31 Message from Pastor Alessandri (click here for pdf)

March 31, 2020

The Peace of the Lord be with you!

Wasn’t yesterday’s sun and warmth a blessing? I opened a window and let the cats smell the fresh Spring air. Ken Tice even ran the lawn mowers here. There are flowers blooming around the church. We’ll take our signs of hope where ever we can get them and give God praise.

Maryland is now under “stay at home” orders since March 30, 8 pm. “No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.” Please be wise and safe. We are fighting an “enemy” we haven’t yet tamed or controlled. For those of us not on the front line of health care or science, our job is to cooperate with their advice so they are able to do their jobs. Be patient and good to yourselves. Be caring and loving to the “neighbor” you can still call, face time with, or for whom you can pick up groceries. We WILL get to the other side of this coronavirus desert. God IS with us.

With the new restrictions we will again need to think of how we can worship together. Though many of us would say worship is an “essential” service, I do not want to ask anyone to violate this state order. So stay tune. As I have said before, the Church is not closed and Easter is NOT cancelled. WE are church. The Lord IS Risen. Nothing —- not even Covid-19 — can change those truths.

THE WORD IN SEASON DEVOTIONAL BOOKLETS FOR APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE I am so glad someone asked us how they could get a copy of this quarterly devotional booklet that many of you use faithfully. My original plan was to place the booklets on the back porch of the parsonage with a pump sanitizer next to the box and invite you to pick one up. We could then deliver copies to those who could not pick one up. Now the new “stay at home” order…… hmmmmm.

For now, I am going to leave the devotionals on the parsonage back porch. IF you are on your way to or from the grocery store, pharmacy, drive-thru restaurant or medical appointment and want to swing by to pick up a devotional, they will be there. If I am told that it’s a violation of the orders, I will let you know.

In any case, stay in God’s Word. Drink in the love, promises and steadfast faithfulness of our Lord.

MICAH’S BACKPACKS UP AND RUNNING AGAIN. We have received the news that arrangements have been made for Micah’s backpacks to be delivered. All packed food bags will be taken to the YMCA parking lot on a Friday morning and delivered by volunteers from United Way and Potomac Case management Services. Don’t know how all the program pieces came together with the schools closed, but I say, “Praise God.” Children will have needed food!

At this time our coordinator, Linda Clark, says she does not need anyone to pack the bags or deliver them. She will let us know if that changes. Thank you, Linda.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR NOTES, WORDS OF GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

As I have been reading the past couple of days messages from Pastor, I began to think of the early Christians. They were not able to worship in groups or had to hide in catacombs. They were vilified by the Romans and non-believers.

In some ways, I feel akin to those early Christians. No buildings to gather for worship and yet their faith in the Lord was lauded and “seeped” out to the world. As Pastor said, we may not be together under one roof, but our faith is being expressed with kindness, thoughtfulness, and Love.

May God’s Peace Be With You

Pam O’Connor

COMMENTS AFTER THE POSTING OF THE MARCH 29 WORHSIP

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bracken Family

Dear Pastor, Pastor Dave, Steve, Grant, Scott and Mary – Thank you for your time and talents in putting the church service together on YouTube. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. Know that all the frustrations were appreciated. Peace, Marge Cunningham

Loved the posted worship. Let’s me feel and stay connected. I hope this can continue this way until we can all join one another again in harmony! Dawn Freeman

What a blessing to be able to participate in worship with you all today from my apartment at Fairhaven CCRC, Sykesville, MD. The video was superb, and with my hearing impairment the accompanying subscript was appreciated. I watched the service in late afternoon. The service here at Fairhaven was also on our in-house cable service. Bob Hart

Many thanks to you & Mary for arranging the video church service yesterday. I was so happy to sit here at home & worship as though I was in our beautiful sanctuary at Haven. The liturgy & the sermon were so meaningful, especially since your weekly devotions featured Ezekiel & Lazarus. It is important to stay connected & keep our faith strong. God bless you, Joan Schupp

God IS with you, dear church,

Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A PAUSE WITH GOD

Haven member, Amy Mason, told me about “God Pause,” a daily devotion put out my Luther Seminary. “God Pause” was the inspiration for naming our daily devotions, “A Pause with God.” You can access the Luther Seminary devotions at https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/ and if you like, you can subscribe to it (at no cost) and have it delivered into your e-mail box daily. It reminds me each day, as I turn on my computer and begin work, to first take some time with the Lord. Today’s devotion came from Luther’s “God Pause.” It was a God sighting for me when I read it on Monday. It is so appropriate and meaningful for today, though it was prepared for the Lenten season long before we moved into the current coronavirus pandemic. I hope it feeds your faith and your hope. God IS good. God IS with us.

Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29 (NRSV)

1O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! 2Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success! 26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. 28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. 29O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Devotion

We near the end of our Lenten journey, and the readings place us in the shadow of the cross. As Jesus triumphantly enters the city he loves, we who know the story anticipate that the crowd in praise will soon be a crowd in protest. The open gate gives entrance to the enemy. Those whom God loves will again respond with rejection. Yet, the psalmist challenges us to pause and give thanks.

Linger in this day to glimpse the presence of God. When we do not worry about tomorrow, we can marvel at the wondrous things God is doing today. The rejected remnant will become the cherished legacy. God is turning the stumbling blocks in our lives into stepping stones toward our future.Whatever struggles this season of fasting has revealed, remember: God’s love is steadfast and endures.

Prayer

God whose steadfast love endures, allow me to accept the victories of today without worrying about the battles of tomorrow. Amen.

Joy J. Moore

Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary

Music:

Turn it up and rock with Michael W. Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks86XlVKaB8 “For the
Beauty of the Earth” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUU6jkHh1n8

“For the Beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTOfSKXkRa0

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skyes
For the love
Wich from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joy ful hymn of praise

For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale

And tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joy ful hymn of praise

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth
And friends above
For a gentle
Thoughts and mild
For a gentle
Thoughts and mild

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joy ful hymn of praise

For each perfect gift of thine
To our race so freely given
Graces human and divine
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joy ful hymn, our joy ful hymn of praise
This our joy ful hymn of praise

Songwriters: John Rutter
For the Beauty of the Earth lyrics © Word Music, Inc., Hinshaw Music Inc (chrismon Music Division), Oxford University Press Uk