September 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

September 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Haven Lutheran Church

 September 21, 2020











Pictures of some of our God Squad Explorers who began their adventures on September 13.  Above, Quill and Roark Daughtridge (Jamie & Jim Cannon’s grandchildren). To the right, Tanner Meredith.

Keep our Explorers in your prayers: Charlie Huguenin, Cable Aleshire, Carthy Aleshire, Hadley Aleshire, Joy Bergschneider, Quill Daughtridge, Roark Daughtridge, Maura Haupt, Tanner Meredith, Ethan Rhodes

How very special for the school supplies and the wonderful people who made it happen. This morning’s Herald Mail article about Haven and Pastor’s added comments were and are a community blessing.
Barb Miller

The beach was still there! This is a view from the balcony where my sister and her husband were staying. The weather was delightful – warm enough to be out on the beach and enough of a breeze to keep away any insects. I’m forever surprised at how soothing the waves are to watch and hear.

Thank you for all your good wishes and prayers. My sister, Denise, sends her love — “They are such good people.”

Pastor Linda Alessandri



This past weekend, we had the pleasure of seminarian Katy Moran preaching and assisting at Friday’s 5 pm worship service and for our taping of Sunday’s worship. She and her sermon were appreciated. Unfortunately, Sunday morning’s drive-up and outdoor service didn’t get to greet Katy since we cancelled the service due to the 40 degree temperatures that were predicted. Yes, those in cars could have run their heaters but it’s awfully difficult to play the piano or guitar when your fingers are freezing. We called some of those who have been regularly attending that service Saturday evening and put a message on the office voice mail.
This coming weekend (September 25 and 27) we will have our final Friday 5 pm and, weather permitting, Sunday 9:30 am Drive-up and Outdoor Service for the year.


In October we will begin to worship indoors in the sanctuary. After much discussion and consideration of logistics, the Re-Opening Team  and Council has decided we will be able to accommodate sufficient seating safely in the sanctuary and narthex so that we can have ONE service on Sundays at 9:30 am STARTING October 4.
We will need everyone to wear masks. We will need everyone to be mindful of social distancing before, during and after worship. We will all need to be patient and alert as we work out the patterns for safely receiving communion. We will need to rely on one another to help us keep the Lord as the center of our worship and community. And, as Haven is known to do, we will work together to keep our gathering safe, healthy and holy.

NOTE: We WILL continue to tape and post a weekly service on-line. We will NOT be offering another service on Sundays at 11:00 am at this time.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” –John 3:16-17 NRSV

While God’s presence can often be deeply felt in the midst of challenging experiences; significant experiences of suffering have a way of narrowing our vision, reminding us how many things in life that we have spent ourselves on become more superficial or insignificant in the face of mortality. The mundane distractions of daily life fade away, and we are left with what really matters: our relationship with God and with those around us. The experience of illness or profound loss can take away so much; still, sometimes in those crucible moments of our lives, we see the love of God more fully and feel it most deeply in our own hearts. It is paradox and it is truth, and at the center of paradox and truth stands the cross. The cross shows us the depth of God’s love for us. God loves us so very deeply that God pours out God’s self-giving love, even unto death. That pattern is reflected in the whole of Jesus’ ministry, not only at the cross, and the ultimate victory of the resurrection; but embodied in the example and witness of Christ in relationship to those on the margins, those who live outside the mainstream, the world-forsaken nameless-faceless siblings who are the collateral damage of culture, tradition, and sin.

Martin Luther posits that the cross is where we learn who God is and how God saves. We don’t worship the cruel instrument of death that is the cross; we worship the Christ, who in love stretched out his hands on the cross. We don’t glorify the suffering of the cross, we recognize the heart of God revealed there in Jesus Christ. To put it plainly, one cannot have “for God so loved the world that God gave the only begotten Son,” without the often overlooked verse that follows it – and is inextricably tied to it – “for God did not send the Son into the world to condemn, but that the world should be saved through him.” God’s purpose is not death; God is always for life. God is not conspiring to condemn; God spends Godself on redemption. The cross stands as witness to life and redemption, not suffering and condemnation. That’s what makes the cross a sign of hope.

Here, in the love we share in Jesus Christ, the cross ceases to be stumbling block or foolishness for some, but comfort and inspiration for all; may the recognizing that if we have any particular cross to bear in this life, it is the hard and holy work of realizing God’s dream of abundant life for all people, now. My prayer is that together, we will continue to take up the cross and proclaim good news in Jesus Christ in a broken and hurting world; a world God still so loves, for Jesus’ sake.

With my love and prayers,





















Entry from a Comedy Photography Competition




Pam O’Conner shared these with us.
How grandchildren perceive their grandparents (Part I)
1. I was in the bathroom, putting on my makeup, under the watchful eyes of my young granddaughter, as I’d done many times before. After I applied my lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, “But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!” I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye….

  1. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 72. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, “Did you start at 1?”
  2. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was THAT?”
  3. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like. “We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.” The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner!”
  4. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, “Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?” I mentally polished my halo and I said, “No, how are we alike?” “You’re both old,” he replied.
  5. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather’s word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
    “What’s it about?” he asked.
    “I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t read.”
  6. I didn’t know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, “Grandma, I really think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!”
  7. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, “It’s no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.”


Read Psalm 25:1-9

1To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
5Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
8Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.

(Today’s reflection comes from Prof. Nancy Koester’s article on  www.working

Are we teachable? Can we change? Can we grow into the image of God in which we are created?

It is God’s work and not our ability that changes us… Learning nice little moral lessons, or memorizing factoids about God is not the point. Instead God invites us to be changed by divine mercy and love. The work of Psalm 25 is to express receptivity, or even to make us receptive.

The Psalm begins in an attitude of worship: “To you, Oh Lord, I lift up my soul.” Lifting up the hands is an ancient posture of prayer, expressing our dependence on God. This simple gesture opens a person to receive God’s blessing. So too, the worshipper ‘lifts up’ her soul to receive God’s love. God’s love takes many forms and in Psalm 25:1-9 these include instruction and wisdom.

Repeatedly the Psalmist asks to be taught God’s ways. “Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths” (verse 4). “Lead me in your truth, and teach me” (verse 5). “God instructs sinners in the way…and teaches the humble” (verses 5-6). To know about God is a starting point, but the Psalmist wants something more. The Psalmist wants to be with God, to walk in God’s path.

People want to be instantly gratified, but if we really need something we will wait for it. “For you I wait all day long” (verse 5). Waiting was hard for the Psalmist, who was in desperate need of help. Enemies were seeking to inflict harm. It seems that the enemies were external — the “wantonly treacherous ones” who put the Psalmist to shame (verses 2-3). Shame comes from outside and is inflicted by individuals or groups. But “enemies” may also be within us, for example, guilt or regret for the “sins of my youth or my transgressions” (verse 7). Pride can make us unteachable, but so can guilt and shame. Then we can’t move forward, can’t hear God’s voice of wisdom, or receive blessing and forgiveness.

And yet we may become most teachable when we are vulnerable, when our illusions of superiority and self-sufficiency have been stripped away (verses 16-19). So the Psalmist who implores God, “lead me in your truth and teach me.”

This is a relationship with God, a two-way communication in which the Psalmist both receives God’s teaching and dares to instruct God. The Psalmist tells God what to remember: steadfast love and mercy (verse 6). And the Psalmist tells God what to forget: “the sins of my youth” (verse 7).

My dog has the right idea. She takes the leash in her mouth when I take her for a walk, so that she can lead me. It is an endearing gesture and always makes me laugh. If this give and take happens between animals and humans, surely it happens between us and God. And as we live in that relationship, we wait, and receive, and lift our souls. We learn, change and grow more and more into the image of God in which we are created.

Prayer  (ELW Psalm prayer with some additions)
Merciful God, you continually show us your ways of forgiveness and steadfast love. We need your help to be open to those gifts and to receive them fully and gratefully, that they may change and shape us to be more like Jesus. Remember not our sins, but recall your compassion to your children, satisfy the longing of your people, and fulfill all our hopes for eternal peace through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.


Psalm 25  “To You, O Lord”

To You O Lord I lift up my soul (Psalm 25) (Graham Kendrick)

“Change My Heart, O God” ELW #801

“Show Me Your Ways”