October 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

October 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

October 21, 2020




This week Quill was amazed to learn about Jonah living inside a smelly fish for 3 days and 3 nights.  He really loved the part of the story when Jonah was thrown overboard to save the other sailors and then spit out of the fish when he was ready to listen to God. Quill said “wait, fish can’t spit…. did the fish vomit and then Jonah came out”?  And that’s why teaching kids always teaches you something right back.  Thanks Haven for this great opportunity with my grandsons.  (Roark had to miss the lesson, but Quill promised to teach it to him)                Jamie R. Cannon





YOU ARE INVITED TO A VIRTUAL PANCAKE DAY   COVID has challenged another long-standing tradition this year — the very popular Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Hagerstown Lions Club. Having the breakfast is not possible but the needs of the community remain, especially in these times. Attached to this E-message will be a flyer about the VIRTUAL PANCAKE DAY they will sponsor so they can continue the work expressed in their motto, WE SERVE to the less fortunate in Hagerstown.  (FYI Ed Distad, Rev. David Kaplan, Clare Newcomer and Thelma Wolf are members of the sponsoring Lions Club) 20Nov7Virtual Pancake Day (pdf)

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS [I am] hoping to do a bit more needlework out there [on my patio] with the weather forecast for the week!  God is taking care of us by providing these additional glorious days of unseasonable temps so we can enjoy His creation midst our isolation due to COVID-19.                   Clare Newcomer


Found this on another church’s website. It was good news I wanted to share.
Pastor Alessandri











Read   Matthew 22:34-46

This Sunday at Haven we will be reading two gospels. One assigned for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost and the other the gospel usually read on Reformation Sunday (
John 8:31-36.) Pastor Kaplan will write on the John gospel reading for Friday’s E-message.

 34When the Pharisees heard that [Jesus] had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.


“The idea seems simple: “Love God, love neighbor.” The difficulties arise in the execution. Everyone I know who has made a serious, lifelong effort to live out these simple precepts has struggled with one or both of them. Who is God, and who is my neighbor? What does it mean to love them? Wrestling with these questions is at the heart of discipleship.” (J. Scott Turner, 9/28/17 Christian Century)

I discovered this gem of a paragraph as I began to prepare for Bible Study and this Sunday’s sermon. Love…God…neighbor — the same words can take people down so many pathways. I want each of those words to be simple, clear and invariable. But they aren’t, are they?

During Jesus’ ministry he was teaching and showing those around him (and us) to grasp these three words. They are at the very heart of God’s kingdom —- creation as God intended and intends. God — you want to know the character and will of God? Watch and listen to the Son before you, Emanuel, God-with-you. Who is your neighbor? The one who notices those in need and the one who helps those in need. What is love? Forgiving, feeding, healing, welcoming the outcast, stepping over prejudices, living compassionately and generously, following God’s will even into the hard places.

Love… God… Neighbor. It’s not simple but it’s the core, the key, the calling of who we are, children of God, created in the image of God and letting that image of God shape, teach, and transform us to be even more visible images of Jesus-still-in-the-world. Our human frailties, self-absorption, fears and search for control and power throw all kinds of obstacle, illusions and rationalizations in the way of becoming and being the beloved children of God we are. Life is complex whether we live in or outside of God’s wills and ways. But there is a peace and joy that will transcend circumstances in letting Love…God…Neighbor be our guide and destination.

Jesus challenges us as he did the various leaders who  tried to trip him up or get him arrested. What would happen if the next time we want to excuse ourselves from doing what God is asking of us, we stopped….. took deep Spirit breaths in and out to give our “fight or flight” impulses time to calm… repeated, “Love, God, Neighbor..Love, God, Neighbor…Love God, Neighbor”… and let the Spirit enter into the conversation?

“Love me. Love your neighbor,” you say. And we want to discuss the details and conditions. You touch our cheek or lift our chins so that we look into your eyes. You say, “Love me. Love your neighbor.”  “But… but…” we mutter. You put your arm around our shoulder or give us a hug, “Love me. Love your neighbor.” We can feel your love. We know you are as close as the beating of our hearts (or is that your heart?)  Help us to see your loving eyes and feel your loving presence as walk we each day so that we make choices in your name and for the sake of love. Amen.


“Great God, Your Love Has Called Us” ELW#358 (different tune but great words) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKTKBA_yxaM

“Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvQz513Jl8M&t=49s

“Love God and Love People” (Danny Gokey)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-29WLQ3trA

“Let Us be Known by our Love”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKTKBA_yxaM

“Love the Lord” (Lincoln Brewster)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAbeFfsqLdc

“You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor” (old style country western) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epArSqlMQ-E

“Listen to our Hearts” (Casting Crowns & Steven Curtis Chapman) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxqHo2Pvfm0