Lenten Devotions: "Chain of Love"
This Lenten season, Bread Blog will be running a series of devotions written by Pastor Ron Glusenkamp, senior pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. The reflections are based, in part, on the music of Peter Mayer, accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. The theme for this year's series is "Mighty This Love," named for one of Mayer's compositions (Listen to a special welcome message from Mayer).
March 11, 2014
“Chain of Love /I can’t break this chain of… /Chain of love… /Set me free/But don’t let me go”
—"Chain of Love," by Peter Mayer
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12).
I like to quote legendary baseball player Yogi Berra. One saying attributed to him is, “You can observe a lot, just by watching.” On Sunday, I observed the people in our faith community. Daylight Savings Sunday always comes as a shocker to some folks. Our gathering song had just a tinge of humor in it: “Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death.” We initially selected it because it went with our theme for the week, “From Death to Life,” but the point was not missed by some. I saw their smiles and heard their subtle laughter. I also saw folks struggling with their own sense of guilt and shame. I recognized others who are feeling hurt and alone. Two families were rejoicing in baptisms. For some families, spring break is just around the corner. I am aware of some who are rejoicing in positive results from the doctor’s office. All in all, I observed children of God who gather to hear the Word, share in a meal, and to be sent to serve in the world.
This Lent, our congregation is watching the epic miniseries The Bible, which aired last year on the History Channel. The goal of the producers of the series is that folks might “see the Bible in a new way.” It is also their intention that viewers:
- Experience the depth of God’s great love for you
- Understand how your unique story fits into God’s story for all of us
- See the scarlet thread of redemption through Jesus Christ
- Go deeper and gain a great knowledge of God’s Word
There are five episodes, which account for 7.5 hours of viewing. We plan to show each episode four different times each week. We’ve also set up discussion groups so people can talk and listen to one another’s observations. On Sunday, a group of hardy individuals gathered together for a “Bible Binge”—they watched all five episodes. My sense is that I might not see them again until Holy Week.
Peter sings about a “Chain of Love.” That’s really what our story and connection is all about. We don’t always realize it or notice it, but we are connected to each other through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I think that is the biggest thing I “observe” when I watch people. There is a connection that comes from community in Christ.
Spend some time just “watching” today.
Photo: Girls singing in the choir at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Petit Goave, Haiti. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).
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