Note from Pastor Alessandri – March 24, 2020

Note from Pastor Alessandri March 24, 2020 (click link to download pdf)

March 24, 2020

The peace of the Lord be with you!

March 19th was the first day of Spring. The amount of daylight time has begun to increase. With all the other important news, it hardly got noticed. And now, we seem to be having a bit of a cold snap, making it a bit harder to see it as spring. Yet…..
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it is the earliest spring we’ll have seen in our lives (so far). The last time spring arrived this early was in 1896—a whopping 124 years ago! It makes me smile to realize that in this year when we need more light and signs of hope, we get the earliest spring in 124 years. So, I would like to suggest we do a little Spring dance of thanks. You choose the dance and music. Since you are home alone or with family, “dance like nobody’s looking.” At this time, in these circumstances, take comfort in knowing the light of the day and the Light of the world are steady and true.

WEDNESDAY LENTEN VESPERS (Evening Prayer service) The DE-MD Synod will livestream a midweek Lenten service on March 25, at 7 pm. To see it “live” you go to the synod’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DelawareMarylandSynod/). On Facebook, you can scroll down until you see the video that has a red “LIVE” button in the corner, or you can click “Videos” in the left hand column, where the “LIVE” button will also appear. You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch, but if you would like to comment, you will need to be logged in.
The recording of each Wednesday evening service is posted on our DEMD Synod YouTube channel and the COVID-19 Response page on our website (https://demdsynod.org/covid-19/ ). On Sundays and Wednesdays, the worship videos will appear at the top of the webpage, but on other days, you will have to scroll down to the Digital Worship section to view past services.
(I thank Deacon Julie Stecker, Assistant to the Bishop for Communications, Youth + Family Ministry for providing directions for folks like me who need coaching in digital matters.)

PASTOR’S TUESDAY PROJECTS I will be taking the information I received from Haven Connectors yesterday and checking to see that all members have a Connector. Then it is on to decisions about Sunday’s worship. I hope to put on my Dean hat for a bit to start checking in with other Lutheran pastors.

Know you are loved, beloved children of God. Reach out to someone today to see how they are doing. I have found folks to be very grateful to speak with a church friend. Stay strong and hopeful. The Lord will walk with us through this and out into the other side. Read the Ezekiel reading in the devotions below. “You shall live and you shall know that I am your God.”

God, who is faithful, IS with you,
Pastor Linda Alessandri

P.S. FOR A LIGHT MOMENT Haven member, Nancy Newkirk, has written lyrics for a new song parody, “Stay Home” to be sung to the tune of “Born Free.” You can also hear her sing it if you visit her Facebook page. Nancy wants everyone to know she does not mean to make light of  our current situation. She is simply offering a moment of humor to lighten our hearts.

Stay Home
(sung to the tune of “Born Free”)

Stay Home!
And wash your hands daily.
Get plenty of Clorox,
And several rolls of TP.

Stand Back!
And please keep your distance.
If you get much closer,
I’ll have to break both of your knees.

Six Feet!
It’s not much to ask us.
It’s better than six feet under!
Don’t you all agree?

Distance!
And good sanitation
Will help the whole nation
In stopping COVID-19

Be Strong!
Stay mentally stable
Be faithful and pray that
We’ll soon be free!

A Pause with God’s Word

Read Ezekiel 37: 1-14
1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

Reflection When I checked for the assigned reading for the fifth Sunday of Lent, I discovered this Ezekiel reading. It felt like a “God sighting.” Here in this time and under our circumstances we have a reading about God’s commitment to bring life to a nation that felt like dried up bones.
God is interested in breathing life into us, even when we feel brittle, unsure or broken. Amen, to that Lord.

Prayer: (adapted from the New Zealand Prayer Book)
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring them hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever likes ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you. Amen.

Music:  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErwiBz1QA4o OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-HszBrTGfANote from Pastor Alessandri March 24, 2020