Lenten Devotions: "The Beginning of Life"
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).
"When morning sun brings the dawn,
Love light my way
Lead me on as world turns 'round
and night enfolds the day
Through spinning seasons, reeling change,
Lord light my way
Each one in rhythm with the song of life you did create
Surprised us with grace
Beside us you stay
Recognized us for who we are and whose we are by name."
— Lyrics from "Lord Light My Way," by Peter Mayer and Patricia O'Reilly
Sixty-nine years ago yesterday, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was led from his cell at a prison camp in Flossenburg, Germany. As he was led away to be hanged, it is recorded that he said, "This is the end—for me, the beginning—of life."
It is hard from where we sit today, almost 70 years later, to imagine the horror and darkness of that time. In many ways, it is quite similar to the horror and darkness the earliest disciples of Jesus experienced at the hands of the Romans. Throughout history, these dark periods have been encountered again and again by followers of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.
St. Paul wrote, "For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
I think of the way that evening prayer begins. A cantor carrying a candle enters the darkened sanctuary. These words are sung: "Jesus Christ is the Light of the World."
The response, "The Light no darkness can overcome," is from memory—it's too dark to read the hymnbook or the printed page of the bulletin. The cantor makes his or her way down the center aisle.
"Stay with us for it is evening."
"And the day is almost over."
As the cantor approaches the front of the sanctuary, one more prayer is prayed.
"Let your light scatter the darkness."
"And illumine the church"
The candle is placed in the candle holder, and then the cantor sings what is called the "Lucinarium," which means light! "Joyous Light of Glory."
Some of you probably can remember when electricity came to the community in which you and your family were living. It was remarkable. I've been places in the world where electricity, and consequently electrical lights, have only recently come, and it is, as you know and might suspect, quite the game changer.
Moving from darkness to light is a remarkable journey.
Peter sings, "Love light my way, Lead me on as world turns 'round, and night enfolds the day."
Blessings to you this day, may Love and Light lead your way today!
P.S. Dear readers, some folks have asked about a gluten-free communion bread recipe. My suggestion, and practice, has been to substitute gluten-free flour in the recipe, and add a little bit (like a 1/4 teaspoon) of xanthan gum to the mix. The bread turns out quite lovely.
P.P.S. Here's the Irish Soda Bread Recipe.
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