September 28, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

September 28, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Haven Lutheran Church
September 28, 2020

WORSHIP AT HAVEN MOVES INTO THE SANCTUARY THIS SUNDAY OCTOBER 4
We are busy working on seating, a flow for communion, placement of worship and song leaders and other details to make sure worship inside the sanctuary follows CDC guidelines for everyone’s safety. All we need is YOU and your gracious patience as we continue to learn and tweek to even better practices. Lord, guide us. Lord, be with us. We come to you with thanks and praise.

We WILL continue to tape a worship service to premiere on Sunday at 9:30 am and can be viewed any time afterwards. In Christ we are together and united. Thanks be to God!

GRATITUDE AND GODSIGHTINGS

We had a great time with the David and Goliath lesson. We first talked about David’s heart before we talked about his strength.  They loved reading the Spark’s Bible version that described David as quiet and gentle but then also very brave when he faced the Giant.  Thank you.  Jamie Cannon

“We planted the David and Goliath flower today!”   Roark and Quill

 

Sunflower Fields at Lesher Farm (Chambersburg)

 

 

 

 

Cindy and Scott Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan Merique and Aura Harbaugh-Wiles

MANY THANKS TO ALL OUR BOWLING FOR KIDS SPONSORS Haven’s Team turned in $540 to the important work of Big Brothers Big Sisters in our community! Way to go, Haven!

From BBBS Facebook page: “Even a pandemic could not deter our amazing community from supporting our Superhero Bowl for Kids’ Sake. We raised nearly $54,000, which is simply incredible under the conditions of this year!”

 

BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAUGH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PAUSE IN GOD’S WORD

Read: Psalm 80:7-15

7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we 
| shall be saved.
8You have brought a vine | out of Egypt;
you cast out the nations and 
| planted it.
9You cleared the | ground for it;
it took root and 
| filled the land.
10The mountains were covered | by its shadow
and the towering cedar trees 
| by its boughs. 
11You stretched out its tendrils | to the sea
and its branches 
| to the river.
12Why have you broken | down its wall,
so that all who pass by pluck 
| off its grapes?
13The wild boar of the forest has | ravaged it,
and the beasts of the field have 
| grazed upon it.
14Turn now, O | God of hosts,
look 
| down from heaven;
15behold and | tend this vine;
preserve what your right 
| hand has planted. 

Reflection  (Most of the reflection was prepared by Paul O. Myhre  and first posted Oct 8, 2017on working preacher.org. The struggles the community is experiencing sounded similar to what many are feeling today.)

“In this Psalm the writer takes familiar images and weaves them together into a tapestry of reflections about the present state of the people of God and the seemingly absent God. The timelessness of the Psalm’s poetry lies in part for me in the efforts of the writers to somehow scratch words of truth born from life experience to speak about something that people collectively feel, but may not be able to fully articulate. The poetic flourishes hover over and burrow beneath the layers of experience people carry within them. They traverse spaces between spaces and suggest that the space is as important as the object that marks one end or the other.

Here is a writer faced with a conundrum. The God who is worshiped and adored is somehow missing in action. Where is the God who cared for the people of the past and made their ways clear, thwarted their enemies, and provided for them an abundance of the good things that life can experience? This God seems to be gone from the spaces of human experience. This God is touted as someone who acted in the past and may yet act in the future, but in the present this God is silent, invisible, and potentially impotent. The writer gives voice to what may have been a collective angst that permeated the culture in which the Psalm was written.

Too many hardships, too much anxiety, too many worries, and so on can tip the scales to cause people to wonder about the vitality and presence of God. The current war in Syria is one that can cause one to wonder about the presence of God. When innocent children are gassed with toxic chemicals by their own people a common cry can be discerned, “Where is God?” This refrain could be spoken in almost any global context of great tragedy. Even the small tragedies of life can push people to ponder the actuality of God’s presence and the apparent inactivity of God. One hardship is stacked on another, and they are stacked on yet others, and the person of faith might be driven to ask, “Is this all there is—one bad thing after another—and is God nowhere to be found?”

The Psalmist draws on the collective imagination of people well acquainted with the processes of agricultural life. They know the hard work involved, the hours of anxiety and concern meted toward a field yet to bear fruit. They are cognizant of various forces in nature that can undo the best laid plans and most carefully tended garden. With the smell of dirt in the air and feel of the air on their skin, the Psalmist invites reflection about the action of God as one who works as a vineyard farmer transplanting and nurturing vines to produce good fruit. Perhaps this metaphor works at a variety of levels and the poetry pushes hearers to consider some of those levels.

Farming as a vineyard, livestock, orchard, or row crop farmer isn’t something that requires the same amount of attention every day. There are seasons for a high degree of activity and there are other seasons in which the vines receive the rain, spread their roots, give forth new shoots, and grow in the sun without contact from the farmer. The farmer is absent, yet the actions of the farmer are still evident. [Yet the vine will also be influenced by the stimuli and circumstances around it.] The vine is an apt metaphor for the people of God.”

Most of us do not have the same familiarity to vineyards as our Hebrew ancestors, yet the psalmist invites us into that world to see that the farmer does not plant and leave the crops to mere fate or chance. Speak to one of the many vineyard growers in our area. There is still attention and care throughout the growth. They will do their best to guard against pests or unhealthy fungus. They will trim and train vines for better growth. The vine may be tempted to say, the vineyard owner is “missing in action” though it is not the full truth.

This portion of the psalm reads as part lament and part plead. There is sadness with the current circumstances. Such sadness that they worry of God’s love and care. Sadness needs expression or we will deaden our feelings to get by. That’s the purpose of lament in the psalms — to give voice to our deepest worries, angers, doubts and fears. Then — But not too soon or falsely — the psalmist digs down deep to remember how the Lord has been faithful and how the Lord has never abandoned. Then fist that was raised in despair or anger, opens, asking to be filled once again with trust, the strength for the next step and enough hope to make it through the days. And God, who is merciful and faithful will provide.

 

Prayer (first paragraph is the ELW Prayer for Psalm 80)

“Lord God, you so tend the vine you planted that now it extends its branches throughout the world. Keep us in Christ as branches on the vine, that, grafted firmly in your love, we may show the whole world your great power and bear the fruit of righteousness; “
In this tender time, when we are weary to COVID restrictions, fearful of the future we cannot see, and aching from divisive, angry rhetoric and the push for power that seems disconnected from healing and building our nation, we turn to you with outstretched hands. Fill us with hope and lead us in paths that bring the Spirit of peace into our deeps, into our hearts and souls, so that we might breathe again; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Music

“Stand in Your Love” (“My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in your love”)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHLEZzyAZrI

“Be Not Afraid” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF0DIpFOoBg

“Love Moved First” (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDdTt7AB0gI