Message from Pastor Alessandri May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 6, 2020

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Simon Lightfoot (grandson of Nancy Newkirk & baptized at Haven)

SURRENDER TO THE GROWTH I just got off the Zoom meetings with Washington Co. Lutheran pastors. There was a rich conversation about biblical images, like desert wandering and exile, that seem to speak to our times. I was captured this morning by one pastor’s description of this time as being like the relationship of a seed to a flower or tree.
When you look at the seed, you cannot see the flower, bush or tree it will grow to be. You see what looks like a small, inert, lifeless thing that has no resemblance to a vegetable or flower it is supposed to become. This is how this time may seem to us as we shelter in place, stay separated and masked as we go into public places, listen to unsettling news and get anxious about a widening divisiveness in the political and public discussions of handling the Covid 19 and “opening” the economy. It’s hard to imagine where we will be weeks or months from now.
Yes, while we may not be able to see beyond this “seed” of a time, in God’s hands there will be something holy and different is already growing out of this difficult time. Amid this pandemic, we — as individuals and a church — are being shaped and grown in ways we may not be able to notice or name right now. But God is not limited by what we can see or comprehend. We can believe that God can grow some good out of the seed and “muck” of these Covid circumstances. That growth toward new and re-newed life is something that is happening within us as well as around us.
Our prayer is then that we can “surrender to the growth” (a quote from Pastor Julie Brigham.) We may only see the frustration, fear, uncertainty or loneliness. But what if we consider these circumstances and our feelings to be the soil in which God is growing something — not weeds but flowers, vegetables or trees? It’s another way to turn our imagination and prayer. You don’t deny your feelings or the difficult situation, but you pray for God to be at work growing something good. For now, we trust in God’s goodness and power to do just that even though we can’t see the final product. We trust in God and “surrender to the growth.” Not an easy thing to do but worthy and worthwhile.

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR A DIFFICULT TIME
May 6, 2020

African American Spiritual                                                            Celtic

Precious Lord, take my hand.                                                      O great God of the angels,

Lead me on.  Let me stand.                                                          Bring Thou me to the dwelling of peace

I am tired, I am weak, I am weary                                              O great God of the angels,

Through the storm,                                                                         Preserve me from the evil of the fairies,

Through the night,                                                                           O great God of the angels

Lead me on to the light.                                                                 Bathe me in the bathing of thy pool

Take my hand precious Lord,

and lead me home.

Source of Life, you have taught us that there is great Blessing in this world even when we are weary. You have given us the time to learn new ways of encountering that which is difficult: isolation, self-motivation, boredom.

Be with us as we also learn a new independence, an ability to hear the music of the universe in the life around us and the people who are angels in our lives.

Make tomorrow shine in our hearts as we turn away from boredom and limitation.  Guide us to truly treasure quiet moments, the sound of music, the promise of sunrise and thunder storms…the gifts of the uniqueness we each bear.   May we always pause to listen to the rushing wind of the storm and see the miracle of the night sky…even when, (or perhaps especially when) we are discouraged.  Amen

Reverend Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator Washington County Interfaith Coalition

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS

Thank you for all you do to help us be grounded and mindful.

I stepped outside early Sunday to get the paper. All around were chickadees, chirping and busily flying to and from the bird houses in the woods. Three bird houses are now home to the chickadees. Having the birdbath nearby helps with all this activity. My reflection was that while we may be locked down, and shut out, their world is as God intended, go forward, be grateful and live this day.
Charlotte Loveless

I have a God-Sighting to report!  Our son Jason & his wife Colleen are so thankful & appreciative of their grocery store workers who, even though putting themselves at risk, are always there for them.  They recently ordered 15-20 pizzas from Papa John’s for dinner for the staff of their busy local Giant Food Store in Frederick.                      Joan Schupp

 

 

From Susan Strobl

 

 

I have you in heart and prayer,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: John 14: 1- 7 (First part of the gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Easter)
Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Reflection   Jesus tells his disciples, “If you know and see me than you know and see God also.” In our usual focus on Christ’s death and resurrection, we often miss this other mission of Jesus — to reveal the will, ways, character and love of God — Father,Son,Holy Spirit. Want to know what is important to God? Look at what Jesus says and does. Want to know how God loves? Look at what Jesus says and does. Want to know if God is with you? Jesus said, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b) Want to know how God forgives? Jesus forgave even those who crucified him.
Think of some of your favorite stories of Jesus. What do you see and learn about the character of our God? The setting for this Sunday’s gospel is the night of Jesus betrayal. In the gospel of John, Jesus spends a good amount of time trying to prepare and teach the disciples. In this particular passage, Jesus knows his disciples are frightened and anxious whenever he talks about his death or departure. In response, he offers them comfort. He offers them the assurance that he will not abandon them. He offers them truth which they can return to whenever they face troubles. ” If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” In this particular scene we see that our Lord comforts, assures, remains with us now and forever and provides truth to guide us along the way. Thank you, Jesus for being a reflection of our God. Thank you God for wanting to be known and sending Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, open our eyes and lives to you — the way and the truth and the life — that we might learn, follow and live in the fullness of your love. Amen

Music:
“Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life” ELW #816 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzJNdXOHLIU
“Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life” a different arrangement sung by the Notre Dame Folk Choir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7rPWhtavf8

“The Way” (Praise music) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohCVRrk_DcQ

“The Way” (Christian “rock”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn4vZkqzCAI

From Nancy Newkirk
“Be Not Afraid” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF0DIpFOoBg&feature=youtu.be
   (This has long been one of the favorite hymns from my Roman Catholic young adult years. I
always wondered by “On Eagles’ Wings” made it into the Lutheran hymnal and not “Be Not        Afraid.”