October 5, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

October 5, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

October 5, 2020

                                                      WORSHIP AT HAVEN
Yesterday we had our first Sunday morning worship service in the sanctuary since March. Including worship and music leaders,  39 persons attended. Even with masks and social distancing, there was a sweet spirit and much pleasure in “seeing” one another.
We will make a few “tweaks,” but all seemed to go safely and well. If you attended and have any observations or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to email them to the church or me (l.alessandri1035@gmail.com)
I hope those who watched our pre-recorded worship service were also blessed. You have one advantage many missed at the in-person service —- you could sing!
At home or in the sanctuary, we worship as the body of Christ together and, even now, we are called to serve our Lord and neighbor.

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS
I lift before you some tireless, unsung servants who have been mowing our lawns and trimming the grass throughout this year — Ken Tice (mowing team coordinator), Adam Tice, Jon Bracken, Kelly Bracken and Anthony Bracken. Hesitant to ask others to leave their homes in these COVID times, these five have been keeping our lawns looking great. I know you five did not do it for praise, but your efforts are worthy of acknowledgement and gratitude. Thank you, so very much.   Pastor Linda M Alessandri

 

 

 

 

 

 

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH –
Photobombing is the act of purposely putting oneself into the view of a photograph, often in order to play a practical joke on the photographer or the subjects — Don’t know if animals can do it purposefully but ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read Psalm 23

1The Lord| is my shepherd;
I shall not | be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down | in green pastures
and leads me be- | side still waters.
3You restore my | soul, O Lord,
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall | fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they | comfort me. 
5You prepare a table before me in the presence | of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is | running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days | of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the | Lord forever. 

Reflection
There’s a story about a renowned, British actor invited to a party of mostly the moneyed, educated upper-crust. Later in the evening, he was persuaded to recite a favorite poem or Shakespearean parts. He asked for requests. Folks were spellbound by his flawless diction and expression. Finally someone asked him to recite the 23rd Psalm.
Noticing a very elderly, local priest sitting among the guest, the actor suggested the 23rd psalm would better be recited by the priest. The priest quickly and graciously decline. But the actor would only agree to recite the psalm if the priest would recite it as well. Under the pressure and insistence of the crowd, the priest finally agreed.
The actor recited the psalm perfectly and before he would allow any applause, he bowed to the priest and sat down to give his full attention. The priest stood up & cleared his throat & steadied himself. He closed his eyes and prayed, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters…..” and so he continued. By the time he finished, the rooms was very still, people were wiping away tears. The actor, himself visibly moved, stood up and said to the priest, “I know the 23rd Psalm but you know the Shepherd.”

What does it mean to “know the Shepherd”?  The Shepherd who I have come to know and on whom I rely, is the God of eternal, perfect, powerful, healing, steadfast, faithful love. I don’t always understand the Shepherd, especially when experiencing the valleys of struggle, fear, anger, disorientation, or loss. In those times, I can give God a piece of my mind or a great many tears. Yet, when I return to the assurances of  verses 1-3 of —- those green pastures, still waters and restoration of my soul, my weary heart, my equilibrium, my spirit time and time again — I remember what else I have experienced. If the Shepherd has been faithful in so many big and small ways in the past, the Lord of all time and all love, will not stop now. In the valley, God is with us, brings us through and leads us further into the peace of knowing we are forever loved by the creator of the universe who will not let sin, COVID or death have the final word. Believing that, I can return to hope and my eyes are open once again to notice the goodness and mercy of God that goes with us all the days of our lives.

The next time you choose or stumble or get dragged into a valley of shadow, put the name of that valley into the psalm, like I’ve done below:

4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of COVID, I shall | fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they | comfort me. 
5You prepare a table before me in the presence | of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is | running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days | of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the | Lord forever. 

Then read and re-read and PRAY these verses. Let them work their way past your intellect into your deeps. Let them soothe and sing to your troubled spirit. Keep doing, when you’re in the valley and when you begin to step out.  Keep praying the verses until you once again can see the green pastures and refreshing waters.

Prayer(ELW Psalm 23 Prayer)

Lord Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, you give us new birth in the waters of baptism, you anoint us with oil, and you nourish us at your table with heavenly food. In your goodness and mercy, dispel the shadows of evil and death, and lead us along safe paths, that we may rest securely in you and dwell in the house of the Lord now and forever, for your name’s sake. Amen.

Music

“The Lord’s My Shepherd” ELW #778
(organ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO0VGM-3un4

(choral) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKpMeKUK03M

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is” ELW #502
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI1OeQfkVyI

(Morman Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra) Vs. 1, 2, 6             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THpjHgWcKHQ

“Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” ELW #789
(Organ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqd5PeiLCBs

(acapella, vs. 1-2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_nffQ3HepA

“My Shepherd” (Michael Card) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M90cJs_8PyM

“While I Wait” (Lincoln Brewster) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NswPPVgMaPE