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Lenten Devotions: The Trust of Trees

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.

'tree on the rocks' photo (c) 2007, Ralf Kayser - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

April 7, 2014
"Only You can stand beside me through all my thoughts and deeds
You raised the might 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 and Jim Mayer

Every once in a while you see a tree growing out of the rocks. It's amazing that anything can survive in such a seemingly harsh climate and terrain. Yet, a tree grows among all the sand, rocks, and beautiful formations. I don't know how the tree got to be where it is. Maybe a bird was carrying a seed and dropped it in a particular spot. Or perhaps the wind blew a seed to that location. Obviously the location and situation were just right for something to take root and grow. It boggles the mind.

People are a lot like plants. Sometimes people grow and flourish in the most difficult situations. Other times, even though the soil, drainage, lighting, and nutritional input is exactly what the horticulturalist ordered, nothing (or more appropriately, no one) seems to blossom and grow.

The tendrils of the roots seek out water and receive nourishment. I'm thinking about young people whose witness brings their parents to church. I'm giving thanks for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors who give a ride to friends so they can come to church. I rejoice in people who are "connectors" so that Living Water flows to those who are thirsty for something real to drink.

Today's First lesson from Isaiah offers an invitation:

"Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!    
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).

"I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You." "Only You," by Peter Mayer and Jim Mayer

So, one of the things to reflect on this Lent is "where are you planted?"

And the following passage from Jeremiah seems to suggest that where one is "planted" is somewhat conditional on where, or what, or in whom one places trust.

I'm trusting that you are growing in your trust of God.

"Thus says the LORD:
      Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals
      and make mere flesh their strength,
      whose hearts turn away from the LORD.
They shall be like a shrub in the desert,
      and shall not see when relief comes.
      They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,
      in an uninhabited salt land.
Blessed are those who trust in the LORD,
      whose trust is the LORD.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
      sending out its roots by the stream.
      It shall not fear when heat comes,
      and its leaves shall stay green;
      in the year of drought it is not anxious,
      and it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17).

Shall we gather at the river?


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