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161 posts categorized "Lent Series"

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:39-42

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

Then going out, Jesus went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:39-42)

Jesus had a strong sense of a God-given purpose in his life:

     • Early in his ministry, when asked to stay in Capernaum, he says, “To the other towns also I must (go) . . . because for this purpose I have been sent.”

     • Later, told of Herod’s death threat, he says: “I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day.”

     • And now, having arrived in Jerusalem and hours away from death, Jesus says to the Father, “. . . not my will but yours be done.”

Perhaps God is nudging me to do something I don’t want to do. From time to time, a certain thought runs through my mind, an inkling to do something (or stop doing something). I shy away from it, slough it off and figure it’s just one of those odd thoughts, daydreams.

But maybe it didn’t come from me. Maybe it came from the Lord. That makes a difference.

Now, early into Lent, I should take a long look at this. If the Lord is nudging me toward something, I ought to do it.

 

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:35-38

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

Jesus said to the apostles, “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing,” they replied. He said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, ‘He was counted among the wicked;’ and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.” Then they said, “Lord, look, there are two swords here.” But he replied, “It is enough!” (Luke 22:35-38)

Earlier, when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, he spoke of “a money bag, sack, and sandals.” Now he speaks of “a money bag, sack, and sword.” He is speaking symbolically, referring to a new time of persecution.

The disciples miss the point, take him literally, and produce two swords. His response amounts to: “Enough of that.”

We’re sometimes taught to be quick with the sword, and we’ve all got our own “swords” – glaring daggers at someone, making cutting remarks.

Throughout this Lent, I’ll watch Jesus face some “swords:” Mockery, manhandling, torture. The early Christians applied a passage from Isaiah to him:

                     He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

How did he do that? How could I do that? Ask him.

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:31-34

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.” But he replied, “I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

Jesus looks ahead to the imminent failure of the disciples – they will abandon him. Peter will do worse. After abandoning Jesus along with the rest, he’ll deny him – not once, but three times.

So, looking ahead to this, what does Jesus say to Peter? He says that he has prayed for him – that Peter may not ultimately fail as a disciple.

Imagine that. Jesus prayed for Peter, was on Peter’s side. Imagine. Jesus praying for me. Jesus on my side.

No need to “imagine” it. In John’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus says, “I pray not only for them but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”

That’s me.

Do I ever really think of Jesus praying for me, not only back then, but now?

If Jesus were to pray for me right now, what would he especially pray for?

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:28-30

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30)

Each Gospel is the author’s “portrait” of Jesus. Each is true, but each looks from a different angle (as portraits do) and the emphasis is different . . . just as portraits of the same person vary from artist to artist.

Consider today’s text. In Matthew’s and Mark’s account of this conversation, Jesus chides his disciples that they will soon abandon him. But Luke has Jesus affirm them: “You have stood by me in my trials.” (Well, they have, but in a few hours they will scatter.)

Ever notice how some people do that so well – try to see the good side of everyone (like grandparents with their grandchildren)? That’s a side of Jesus that Luke wants me to know: Always affirming other people.

People will pass through my life today. I could go out of my way to give them affirmation . . . sort of a form of giving alms. Not a bad idea for Lent. Not too hard either.

But before I do that, I can take some minutes right now to picture Jesus affirming me. I have my good points too.

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:21-23

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed. (Luke 22:21-23)

Jesus makes a startling revelation: One of those who just shared in the bread and the cup was going to betray him. The disciples’ reaction reflects the horror of Christians ever since: “Who would do such a thing?”

While they’re saying this, Judas is sitting there holding inside what he had done a few days earlier: “Judas went to the chief priests . . . to discuss a plan for handing Jesus over to them. They were pleased and agreed to pay him money.” Good Lord, how it must have felt to have that awful truth twisting inside his stomach as Judas tried to look normal.

Too bad he didn’t know he was normal. He was a sinner, as I am. But there was still time. He could confess theawful truth. Why didn’t he? Telling even an awful truth is better than living a lie.

Maybe Judas lost his nerve, or didn’t know how to say it, or to whom to say it. So he lived the lie that killed him.

Perhaps I’ve had things inside me I didn’t know how or whom to tell. The sacrament of reconciliation began as a kind provision to enable sinners to tell the truth and find peace.

That’s still what it is.

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:19-20

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord. 

Then Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

The family member presiding at Passover would take the bread and say, “This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors had to eat as they came out of Egypt.” But Jesus, instead of identifying it as the bread of affliction, says, “This is my body which will be given for you.”

Jesus also gives new meaning to the wine. It becomes his blood-of-the-covenant, and now seals a bond between God and the human race.

I’m familiar with “covenant” – that’s what marriage vows are. I can catch the implications of the eucharistic covenant if I picture God speaking vows to me:

“I, God, take you, [your name], to be my own, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse [this includes sin], for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. . . and when you die, my Son will walk with you through death and bring you safely home, to peace and joy and life. . . forever.”

Remember. A covenant involves both parties. We have to speak our part.

“I, [your name], take you, God, to be my own . . .”

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:17-18

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord. 

Then Jesus took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:17-18)

Normally, participants in the Passover meal drank from their own cups. But at the Last Supper, Jesus has the disciples all drink from the same one. On the brink of death, he heightens the closeness of this group with whom he “eagerly desired” to share this meal.

Jesus promises that one day he will drink this cup with them in the kingdom of God. They thought the kingdom would come soon. It didn’t. We’re 2,000 years and counting, and it could be millions more.

Meanwhile, I need to recognize the presence of Jesus on earth. Jesus is not living in retirement, nor is he far away. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles to tell the story of Christ present and active among his people after his death, resurrection and ascension.

Wherever I am as I read this, however distant I might feel from the Lord, one thing is sure: The Lord is with me and wants the same closeness with me as he had with his disciples at that table in the upper room.

Let me enjoy his presence. Just plain enjoy it.

Lent Devotions: Ash Wednesday

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Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.  

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:14-16)

When the sun set on Thursday evening, the great feast of Passover began for the Jewish people. Its centerpiece was a meal at which the paschal lamb was eaten.

At this meal Jesus looked to the past – the night when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt. But he also looked to the future – the great banquet in heaven.

Lent also looks two ways. I look to my mixed past – joys and sorrows, successes and failures, good deeds and sins. But I also look to my future – the great feast of Easter and the assured victory of life over all forms of death.

The ashes on my forehead are not a gloomy symbol. They express my belief that through death I find life. Dying to old ways of sin brings the peace I’ve always wanted.

No Lenten penance dead ends in pain. Beneath true penance is always the experience of God’s loving presence. Plus the sense that I’m moving in a good direction.

I can spend a lot of time on my past, maybe too much. Maybe I should talk to the Lord about my future. For starters, talk about these next 40 days. Don’t drift halfheartedly
into Lent. Plunge into it.

Lenten Devotions: Go, Tell, and See

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 devosAudio podcast versions of the daily devotionals are also available.

'Easter Cross ~ Alleluia ~ 'Praise the Lord'' photo (c) 2013, Sharon - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Easter Sunday 
April 20, 2014
 
The following is Pastor Ron Glusenkamp's Easter Sunday sermon, given April 20, 2014 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. 

"After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.
But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me" (Matthew 28).

Grace and peace to you from our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Welcome and thank you for gathering together to celebrate Easter here at Bethany Lutheran Church. It is a holy day, and that's why we say, Christ is risen! "He is Risen, Indeed, Alleluia." Christ's victory over sin, death, and the grave calls for a response. So, in honor of that, and also because this message is too big for one preacher to carry by himself, every time I say, "This is the day that the LORD has made," I'd like for you to respond by saying, "Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
 
We do rejoice and are glad in it. That's why we have such lovely music filling the sanctuary today. That's why the chancel area is dressed up in its Easter garments. That's why you and I have come here to participate in what is REAL! Namely, that Jesus is alive!
 
"This is the day that the LORD has made."
    [People] "Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
 
Two weeks ago, the Bethany Foundation gave away $5,000 as seed money, so that we might grow it and bring it back next week. It's a powerful--if not risky, crazy--reminder that God gives us blessings, and we are called to invest ourselves in those blessings in order that we might share them with others. For when you think about it, we have"an avalanche" of grace, hope, and love.
 

Continue reading "Lenten Devotions: Go, Tell, and See" »

Lenten Devotions: Hot Cross Buns

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.

IMG_0516

April 19, 2014

"Welcome child into our family
Washed in water, reborn and free
A sign on your forehead and your heart
The cross that never will depart
Allelujah Allelujah
Allelujah come and sing

Stirrin’ up the water
Stirrin’ up my soul
A Light comes to the darkness
Come and make me whole
Oh Stir it up, stir it up, Oh Lord
The call goes out to near and distant lands
Come all you children into my hands
Grow like branches on the living tree
Washed in water, reborn and free
Allelujah Allelujah Allelujah now we sing

Comfort and joy the spirit brings
In darkest trials, drink from the spring
Hear the promise that no time could ever hold
It’s forever, for young and old
Allelujah Allelujah Allelujah Lord we sing."

Lyrics from "Stirrin’ Up the Water," by Peter Mayer

IMG_0517I’m making hot cross buns today. It’s a custom a started long ago with our daughter Hannah Grace. We’re not together this year, but I’m thinking about her as I “stir up” and stir in all the ingredients. The spices are what get me the most. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and all spice. I think of the women gathering all the spices to “embalm” the body (for there is a balm in Gilead). Their sad, sad souls and hearts were broken.

I beat the eggs and remember one person saying, “You can’t make an omelet unless you break a few eggs.” What needs to be “cracked open” in our lives? What needs to be blended together? Right now, the dough is “resting” and rising. Shrouded in old tea towels that have been in my wife’s and my family for ages. In our busy 24/7 world, when do we Sabbath? God made us to be 24/6 and here we are running around like chickens. Yes, those little chicks that Jesus says he wishes he was like a mother hen for us to gather us under the shadow of God’s wings.

I shared the following quote from Miriam Weinstein the other evening as we “welcomed our 53 first communion participants” to the table.  In a soccer/baseball/hockey/ballet/music lesson driven culture, where is the table?

If this generation forgets what gathering around the table means and can mean, will the table/altar up front look like a big desk? And with portable tablets and phones, what is a desk even all about?

But, even though I ask these questions, I believe. I believe in the power of eating and drinking together. I believe in gathering around each other in a circle. I know the transformational power of spices. I trust that the little bite of bread and sip of wine that we hand out is truly given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.

Families who eat supper together…position their kids to do better in school.

Families who eat supper together…pass on their ethnic, familial, and religious heritage.

Families who eat supper together…help prevent eating disorders and obesity.

Families who eat supper together…build their kids’ literacy, vocabulary and conversational skills.

Families who eat supper together…teach their kids manners.

Families who eat supper together…promote a sense of resilience that will last a lifetime.

Families who eat supper together…enjoy each other more as a family.

( From The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier, 
by Miriam Weinstein

Allelujah now we SING!

(Photos courtesy of Pastor Ron Glusenkamp)

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