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Lenten Devotions: "Living H20"

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).

This post is reprinted, with permission, from Glusenkamp's site, h20 devos. Audio podcast versions of the daily devotionals are also available.

'Water Flow 1' photo (c) 2009, Luke Addison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
March 23, 2014

"Stirrin' up the water

Stirrin' up my soul
A Light comes to the darkness
Come and make me whole
Oh Stir it up, stir it up, Oh Lord"
 
Lyrics from "Stirrin' Up The Water,"  by Peter Mayer
 
John 4:5-42 is the Gospel lesson for the day.
 
I believe that these words (all 772 of them) provide a refreshing oasis in the Bible. (The Gettysburg Address only had 272 words). Here we have Jesus talking with this Samaritan woman, who, by all standards, is an outcast. She has been married not once, not twice, but five times. She is currently cohabitating with a man who is not her husband.
 
We heard on Ash Wednesday that "you are dust and to dust you shall return." Now today, this unnamed, finite, fractured being is being told by the Son of God that there is something infinite and whole that can change her life. And that message of life and salvation is for us as well.
 
I happened to be listening to A Prairie Home Companion on March 9, when Garrison Keillor was telling the story about Delores, the waitress at the Chatterbox Café. She had unloaded a bunch of coffee beans, I think 600 pounds of them, and she laid down in the back to take a little nap. The priest came in after an Ash Wednesday service looking for something to eat. He found Delores in the back room asleep, so he took out his ashes and made the sign of the cross on the waitress as she slept. She awoke not too long after that and after some time realized that she had the mark of the cross on her forehead. She thought about it and realized that commercials don't tell you and politicians don't tell you that "you are dust and to dust you shall return." It is only the church that dares tell the truth -- that we are all made of the same stuff and to that same stuff we shall return. Garrison Keillor went on to say that it is when we think about what a mess we've made of things, that we realize all those sins we think other people have, we realize we are capable of committing them as well.
 
The Samaritan woman was a marked woman. Most likely she was at the well at the hottest time of the day so she wouldn't have to endure the gossip or stares of the townspeople. Jesus happens by one dusty, dry day and engages her in conversation. As you heard and read, she is rather spunky. She basically tells Jesus that he doesn't even have a bucket, which is like being up a creek without a canoe or even a paddle.
 
But, Jesus cuts through all the stuff -- the brokenness, the gender issues, the racism -- and connects with her deep in her soul. He sees her as she is, just as she is, a daughter of God.
And she sees, maybe for the first time in a long time, that her life can be more than what it appears to be.
 
Father Richard Rohr writes in Falling Upward, A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,
"Jesus did not teach that one size fits all, but instead that his God adjusts to the vagaries and failures of the moment. This ability to adjust human disorder and failure is named God's providence or compassion. Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God's own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us. Just the Biblical notion of absolute forgiveness, once experienced, should be enough to make us trust and seek and love God."
 
The words of Isaiah 25 come to mind:
 
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
 
Yesterday was World Water Day. (Check out www.water.org) for more information.
 
When you have a vision of how Living Water changes one's life, there can be a flood of love, hope, grace, and action.
 
"Stirrin' up the water
Stirrin' up my soul
A Light comes to the darkness
Come and make me whole
Oh Stir it up, stir it up, Oh Lord"
 
Amen

 

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