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Lenten Devotions: "Only You"

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.

"The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius," Carlo Crivelli, 1486. (Wikimedia Commons)
March 24, 2014
"Only You can stand beside me through all my thoughts and deeds
You raised the mighty Redwood from the seed
Only You formed the mountains that stretch to the sky
Cover them with moonlight tonight
I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You"
—Lyrics from "Only You," by Peter Mayer
An angel and a saint walk down the street—I know, I know it sounds like the beginning of a joke. But, this is no joke, it's an amazing painting in the National Gallery in London. "The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius,"painted by Carlo Crivelli in the 15th century, is a very intense, elegant portrayal of the heavenly birth announcement that came to Mary.
My friend, the Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and author of The Art of Worship-Paintings, Prayers, and Reading for Meditation, describes the scene: "The people go about their business amidst the beautiful architecture of the town as the golden beam of the Spirit of God alights on Mary through a providentially placed hole in the wall of her grand house. The peacock symbolizes immortality because its flesh was thought not to decay, and the 'eyes' on its tail represent an 'all-seeing church.'"
Check it out on the National Gallery's website. It happens to be one of my favorite paintings of all time. Just in case you haven't done the math, there are only nine months until Christmas!
This past year, on the days after Christmas, my wife and I, along with our adult kids, went snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park. As sugarplums danced in my head (along with Christmas carols), the words of Peter's song came to mind:
"Only You formed the mountains that stretch to the sky
Cover them with moonlight tonight
I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You."
Both Peter's song and the painting by Crivelli are creedal statements. They express what the artist believes about God, about the world, and about themselves.
I encourage you to spend a little time today reflecting on what you believe.
I'm going to join in the chorus with Peter:
"I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You."


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