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Lenten Devotions: "Table Talk"

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.

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

Communion
Communion is received in rural Xonca, Guatemala.(Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

April 17, 2014
Maundy Thursday

"And you're Still in One Peace
Still in One Peace
We are blessed we are broken
Given one more chance to be
Found in you we are
In One Peace."
Lyrics from "Still in One Peace," by Peter Mayer

I love these next three days. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil constitute one service over three nights. It's as if each service ends with the "cliffhanger message," "to be continued..."

Today is Maundy Thursday. Its name comes from the Latin word for commandment, mandatum. On this day Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13).

I'm not so sure this is a "new" commandment. However, I am not really in a position to argue with Jesus on this day. But, love and loving one another as we have been loved, are core principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Karen Armstrong, in her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life,  also makes the case that love is central to the teachings of all major religions. So, what exactly is Jesus saying to us with this new commandment?

Maybe it comes down to the fact that loving another, or one another, is new each and every time we do it. And as we gather around the table, whether that be at home or in a restaurant or at church, we hear the words, "Do this in remembrance of me."

Peter is so good at describing our saint/sinner dialectic by singing, "We are blessed, we are broken." Within the same line, he says it all. There are parts of me (and I'm sure of you) that are just wonderful and caring, full of love and kindness. And there are also parts of me (and I'm sure of you) that are not wonderful, and are apathetic, spiteful, and mean. We are not one or the other, but as Luther (and now Peter) so eloquently remind us, we are both!

Maybe, then, this new commandment is also like that in that it is an old permission — it's like that airline slogan, "You are now free to roam the country." God has been granting us this freedom to love for as long as Homo sapiens have been taking their breaths on the face of this earth.

We come to the table to eat and drink in remembrance. We come to "taste and see" that the Lord is good. We come just as we are without one plea — and that is enough.

Bon appetit!

 

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