Lenten Devotions: "With 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).
"We come as a child to walk this hard road/But put on this Love, and watch how we grow/From dim reflection where we cannot see/To come face to face with the greatest of these/...Or I have nothing/Love to hold and to give/Now that’s something for which I can live." —"Without Love," 1 Corinthians paraphrase by Peter Mayer, sung by India Mayer
I heard the account of Jesus’ temptation in Matthew’s Gospel three times yesterday.
Additionally, I read it a bunch of times this past week in getting ready to preach on it over the weekend.
I am not sure I want to go on record as being a “devil’s advocate,” but when I think about hunger in the world today, I wonder what would be so wrong with turning stones into bread? I mean, I understand that Jesus shouldn’t have fallen for the tricky words of the tempter. I’m glad Jesus countered those words with a word from Deuteronomy. But, let’s fast forward to today. What would be so wrong with Jesus doing a grand miracle feeding like he has done in the past?
And just as I write those words I wonder if you think that I’m being blasphemous in some way. I wonder what God must think as my comments are heard, while, at the same time, the all-seeing eye of God observes all the food I have in my pantry. So, then I am confronted with a variation of the question directed at me. Specifically, why don’t I take some more of my “bread,” i.e., cold, hard cash, and turn it into food? Is it because I think I’ve done my bit and that I think someone else should be doing more? Is it because I am not aware? It is because I too ask and wonder, “what are these five loaves and two fish among so many” (John 6)? Is it because I am waiting for God to do something first?
I know many of you care deeply about the hunger in our world today. I thank God for Bread for the World and its many supporters who, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, take seriously the gospel imperative to make “room at the table.”
Today I pray to act with love.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ''If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4).
Photo: A child enjoying fresh fruit. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl)
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