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Lenten Devotions: "Banana Nut Bread"

Banana nut bread  pretzels 007
Banana nut bread baked by Pastor Ron Glusenkamp.

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.

"I'm a lonesome chord looking for a song

Still not sure I know where I belong
You're a tired word looking for a rhyme
Feel as though you're running out of time

They say Joy will be
Just around the bend
'Til I'm there
It's good to have a friend

You're a quiet whisper dancing in the breeze
I'm a hurricane tumblin' toward the Keys
You're a wild dream on a falling star
To me the destination seems too far

They say happiness
Is just around the bend
'Til I'm there
It's good to have a friend"

—Lyrics from "Good to Have A Friend," by David Bailey and Peter Mayer


One of the things that I love about doing the Lenten devotions is the "timeliness" of it all. I usually write them the day before they appear. I often refer to it as being like baking daily bread. I know it's gotta go or we don't have it out there. I feel really good that you get that fresh baked smell each and every day.

Father Dominic Garramone, who write Bake and Be Blessed: Bread Baking as a Metaphor for Spiritual Growth, talks about having the "wind knocked out of oneself." Basically, this also happens when kneading the dough takes place. It's a necessary process in order for the rest of the baking process to unfold. Father Richard Rohr speaks of "falling upward." No matter what we call it, when it is all said and done, it's about suffering.

As I wrote yesterday, you know that my colleague Pastor Ruth Ann and I are in the midst of a season of ministering to families who have suffered. They have had the wind knocked out of them. And I know myself well enough to know that in the midst of giving and also receiving, the "wind," i.e., SPIRIT, has been knocked out of me, as well.

I write those words not to elicit pity or praise, but rather to say to you all that pastors, teachers, nurses, doctors, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cops, architects, secretaries, butchers, bakers, cash register folks, students, everyone is at risk of feeling the impact of life's ups and downs at times.

Peter sings about the value of friends in this whole experience. He also directs us to something "just around the bend." I really like that and know it to be so very, very true.

Father Dom has a great section in his book that calls for self-reflection and awareness. Basically, it asks, "What kind of bread are you?" He wrote this long before all of the Facebook quizzes asking us to figure out what kind of car, character from a movie, rock band, etc., we are.

Father Dom writes:

"One more kind of bread: banana bread (you were already thinking of it, weren't you?). You probably know how to make banana nut bread: you use the bananas that have gone bad, that are too old and spotty, too bruised to put on the table, bananas that someone else might throw away. Unfortunately, our society does that with people sometimes. We can look at others and say, 'You're no good. You're the wrong color. You're too old and spotty to be of any of use. You don't belong because you are not like us.' But the banana nut bread person doesn't think that way. The banana nut bread Christians go in search of the people who are bruised, the ones who seem to be going bad, the people who are a different color, the ones who are old and isolated. They seek those people out and they say, 'We're going to make something special out of you. You belong here. You have a place and a purpose.' And to do that, you have to be a little bit nuts. But in my cookbook, banana nut bread is the best kind of bread to be. It is the bread that Christ has called all of us to be." 


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