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123 posts categorized "Lent Series"

Lenten Devotions: "Love"

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.


Photo by flickr user Mumu X

Second Sunday in Lent
March 16, 2014
 
"Save your strength for the good fight
 
Save your tears for the sorrow
Spend your love it's alright
Before it's gone gone gone tomorrow
 
For the day will come when you leave this dusty town
And your cross will take its place by your father's in the ground
Love is not just a fable that Hollywood bought and sold
Oh let me tell you now love is the only road, " 
—Lyrics from "Blue River," by Peter Mayer
 
On this Second Sunday in Lent, the Gospel lesson (John 3) for today brings us
the first episode of "Nick at Night": Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night to talk with him.
He evidently feels he is not in a position to talk with Jesus during the daylight hours. I've often told people in Bible class that if the Gospel of John was a play, and you were the stage manager, that you'd only have one task to do, and that would be to either turn on the lights or turn off the lights. This is due to the fact that in the Gospel of John, things either happen when it's light or when it is dark. During these days in March, you might feel the same way about your life, that things either happen in the light or the dark. Jesus and Nicodemus have quite the conversation. This is how is concludes (or maybe actually it has a new beginning for Nicodemus with these lovely words from Jesus):
 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
 
Jesus is about love. Unfortunately, I think it can take a long time for the church and for church people to come to that conclusion. I know that in my own faith journey, a good portion of my life was spent on trying to follow all the rules. Coupled with that attention to behavior and detail was the strong image of God as judge. The more I learn and pray, it comes to me that the message our world desperately needs to see, hear and feel from people who follow Jesus is one of love!
 
Peter lovingly and courageously sings, "Love is not just a fable that Hollywood bought and sold/
Oh let me tell you now love is the only road."
 
In fact, Jesus himself said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." So, the One who calls himself the "Road" is with us on our journey through the ups and downs of life. Knowing that we are loved and do love is so important.
 
I spent time at a hospice yesterday morning. Family members and myself gathered around the bed of a grand lady to offer comfort to her as well as "permission" that it is alright to let go. I read the words about Simeon, who rejoiced when he saw the baby Jesus in the temple, from Luke 2:
 
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
 
Love is the road on which that dear family journeys. Love will see them through
as they walk through "the valley of the shadow of death." Love will be there to welcome them and us as we are reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us.
 
Love is God. God is Love.

Lenten Devotions: "Peace"

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.

Candles(
Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)
 
 
March 15, 2014
 
"What if Love was a shepherd's eye/Could see one lost for the 99/And faith and hope were a tiny seed/That could bloom into a family tree.
 
I've believed betrayed swayed and discussed/Still I feel like a wrapped up Lazarus/Haven't made sense of the mystery/But it makes sense to me/
 
And I'm still in one peace/Still in one peace/We are blessed we are broken/Every day a chance to be/One together again." Lyrics from "Still in One Peace," by Peter Mayer
 
Peter puts forward a bunch of images in these few lines. We have the story of The Lost Sheep (Luke 15) and the 99 safe in the pen. There is the image of the power of faith, moving mountains (Luke 17:6). There is the confession of sins like we have in Psalm 51.
 
Next there is the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead (John 11). Last, but not least, we have a reference to mystery. "Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly place" (Ephesians 3).
 
The song and our lives are all held together by the belief that because of God's grace and love, we are held together in "one peace." "For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." (Ephesians 2:14)
 
On Thursday, I was re-reading Parker Palmer's book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, when these words jumped off the page for me:
 
"As I learn more about the seed of the true self that was planted when I was born, I also learn more about the ecosystem in which I was planted- the network of communal relations in which I am called to live responsively, accountably and joyfully with beings of every sort. Only when I know both seed and system, self and community, can I embody the great commandment to love both my neighbor and myself."
 
I like to call Lent "spring training for Christians." It's a time to work on the basics, the fundamentals of faith. Today is the day to work on peace and also let it work on you and me.

Lenten Devotions: "Location, Location, Location"

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.

'River, Seydisfjordur' photo (c) 2010, David Stanley - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
 
March 14, 2014
 
"It led me to peace at the river/It woke me in the rage of the wind/Called me up to the mountain/
Back through the valley again." --Lyrics from "Mighty This Love," by Peter Mayer
 
I often tell people that Bible atudy is quite similar to real estate in that what is important often comes down to just three words: "Location, location, location."
 
Peter sings about three specific locations in this wonderful song: river, mountain, and valley. If you just stop for a moment to think about rivers you know of from the Bible, what comes to your mind? How many names of mountains can you recall? Last but not least, what about valleys?
 
My quick list reveals the following rivers, Jordan, Jabbok, Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile. The mountain list consists of Sinai, Ararat, and Calvary. In terms of valleys, I think of Kidron and, of course, the "valley of the shadow of death."
 
I think of Jacob wrestling with God all night at the banks of the Jabbok River (Gen. 32).
This is one of my favorite stories because it is so consistent with other "crossing over" or "passage" accounts. In order to move forward, one often has to deal with the sprites that exist in the forest. There are trolls beneath the bridge. No matter where you go in order to go into the future, one must wrestle with the past or the present. Once that has been done, there can be a sense of peace.
 
Marshall Maclean's book A River Runs Through It has this lovely line in it:
 
"Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."
 
God created the heavens and the earth. Rejoice and be glad in this wonderful world.
 
I pray you can stand by a river today and find some peace. If you can't physically go to a river, perhaps you have picture of one that has given you pleasure.

Lenten Devotions: "From Death to 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).

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

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The sacrifice of Isaac - Marc Chagall
Le sacrifice d'Isaac, by Marc Chagall, 1966. Photo: Wikipaintings. 

March 13, 2014

Pastor Ron's congregation is watching the mini-series The Bible this year for Lent.

Yesterday's clip was the "Binding of Isaac." Following is his sermon on that story from Genesis 22. It connects to Peter Mayer's song, "Still in One Peace."

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"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life" (John 5:24)

 

"After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together (Genesis 22:1-8).

 

There is probably no other story in the Bible that is so gut-wrenching, angst-producing, faith-confusing, and troublesome than this one from Genesis 22, often called "the Sacrifice of Isaac," but probably more appropriately referred to as "the Binding of Isaac."

 

We are all the son and daughter of someone. It is quite hard to imagine a parent, your parent, being tested in such a manner. And if you are a parent or have a parent-child relationship with someone, can you imagine being summoned by God to basically sacrifice the future, to "kill the dream," to draw down the curtain on one's present and hopes to come? But that is exactly how this story begins. Remember now, Isaac means "laughter," but this episode is going to bring about tears.

 

"After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you."

 

I don't know if the "modern" mind, heart, or soul can totally comprehend this test.

It seems that at least once a week or so, we read about some parent, usually involved in a custody suit or experiencing some kind of deep emotional and spiritual trauma, who attempts or actually does take the life of their child or children before taking their own life.

 

I want to like Abraham. I want to hold him up as a hero of the faith (which I think he was). But, as many commentators have suggested, the man who was willing to bargain and argue with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah doesn't seem to blink an eye when given this command. Nor does he consult with Sarah, his long-suffering and forgiving wife. Neither does he let the intended sacrifice, Isaac, in on the plan which God has commanded. And let's not just stop with Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac here. What about God, who decides to "test" Abraham in this manner? Surely Abraham has already done what he was supposed to do by leaving his home country and heading out for paths unknown.

 

To me the most heart rendering part of the story is when Isaac states,"The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

 

Indeed, "where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

 

Continue reading "Lenten Devotions: "From Death to Life"" »

Lenten Devotions: "One Peace"

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.

* 'Peace' photo (c) 2011, Kelly Hunter - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Wednesday, March 12

"And I'm Still in One Peace/Still in One Peace/We are blessed, we are broken/Every day a chance/To be/One together again." —"Still in One Peace," by Peter Mayer

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).

I just love Peter's line, "we are blessed, we are broken." Those six words accurately describe what Martin Luther and the Reformers (sounds like the name of a group, doesn't it?) described as "simul justus et peccato," which means, at the same time justified and a sinner. We have then shortened that translation to "saint and sinner."

So, in one piece we are sinner and saint. And because of that designation we have "one peace" in Jesus Christ.

The members of our Faith Formation team at church have t-shirts that read "Saint" and "Sinner," depending on how one sees it.

It isn't one or the other, it is "both," it is "and."

Today is a good day to acknowledge your saint/sinner identity. May it hold you in one peace.

Lenten Devotions: "Chain of Love"

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.

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March 11, 2014

“Chain of Love
/I can’t break this chain of…
/Chain of love…
/Set me free/But don’t let me go”

—"Chain of Love," by Peter Mayer

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12).

I like to quote legendary baseball player Yogi Berra. One saying attributed to him is, “You can observe a lot, just by watching.” On Sunday, I observed the people in our faith community. Daylight Savings Sunday always comes as a shocker to some folks. Our gathering song had just a tinge of humor in it: “Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death.” We initially selected it because it went with our theme for the week, “From Death to Life,” but the point was not missed by some. I saw their smiles and heard their subtle laughter. I also saw folks struggling with their own sense of guilt and shame. I recognized others who are feeling hurt and alone. Two families were rejoicing in baptisms. For some families, spring break is just around the corner. I am aware of some who are rejoicing in positive results from the doctor’s office. All in all, I observed children of God who gather to hear the Word, share in a meal, and to be sent to serve in the world.

This Lent, our congregation is watching the epic miniseries The Bible, which aired last year on the History Channel. The goal of the producers of the series is that folks might “see the Bible in a new way.” It is also their intention that viewers:

  • Experience the depth of God’s great love for you
  • Understand how your unique story fits into God’s story for all of us
  • See the scarlet thread of redemption through Jesus Christ
  • Go deeper and gain a great knowledge of God’s Word

There are five episodes, which account for 7.5 hours of viewing. We plan to show each episode four different times each week. We’ve also set up discussion groups so people can talk and listen to one another’s observations. On Sunday, a group of hardy individuals gathered together for a “Bible Binge”—they watched all five episodes. My sense is that I might not see them again until Holy Week.

Peter sings about a “Chain of Love.” That’s really what our story and connection is all about. We don’t always realize it or notice it, but we are connected to each other through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I think that is the biggest thing I “observe” when I watch people. There is a connection that comes from community in Christ.

Spend some time just “watching” today.

Photo: Girls singing in the choir at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Petit Goave, Haiti. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

Lenten Devotions: "With Love"

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.

Isaac_Fb_sizeMonday, March 10

"We come as a child to walk this hard road/But put on this Love, and watch how we grow/From dim reflection where we cannot see/To come face to face with the greatest of these/...Or I have nothing/Love to hold and to give/Now that’s something for which I can live." —"Without Love," 1 Corinthians paraphrase by Peter Mayer, sung by India Mayer

I heard the account of Jesus’ temptation in Matthew’s Gospel three times yesterday.

Additionally, I read it a bunch of times this past week in getting ready to preach on it over the weekend.

I am not sure I want to go on record as being a “devil’s advocate,” but when I think about hunger in the world today, I wonder what would be so wrong with turning stones into bread? I mean, I understand that Jesus shouldn’t have fallen for the tricky words of the tempter. I’m glad Jesus countered those words with a word from Deuteronomy. But, let’s fast forward to today. What would be so wrong with Jesus doing a grand miracle feeding like he has done in the past?

And just as I write those words I wonder if you think that I’m being blasphemous in some way. I wonder what God must think as my comments are heard, while, at the same time, the all-seeing eye of God observes all the food I have in my pantry. So, then I am confronted with a variation of the  question directed at me. Specifically, why don’t I take some more of my “bread,” i.e., cold, hard cash, and turn it into food? Is it because I think I’ve done my bit and that I think someone else should be doing more? Is it because I am not aware? It is because I too ask and wonder, “what are these five loaves and two fish among so many” (John 6)? Is it because I am waiting for God to do something first?

I know many of you care deeply about the hunger in our world today. I thank God for Bread for the World and its many supporters who, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, take seriously the gospel imperative to make “room at the table.”

Today I pray to act with love.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ''If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4).

Photo: A child enjoying fresh fruit. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl)

Lenten Devotions: "Be"

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.

'Clock Tower' photo (c) 2007, midiman - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

March 8, 2014

“Believe, be Light, be Love just because
/All along you’ve belonged
In this love song
/This now, befriend/Come what may, with your heart begin/
Believe Be Light Be Love.” Lyrics from Be Etc.,  by Peter Mayer

Tonight we are supposed to “spring forward” our clocks by one hour. I much prefer the “fall back” portion of this equation, because it seems that it takes much longer to adjust to the “loss” of 60 minutes than it does to deal with the “gain” of an hour in the fall.

Being cognizant of “losing” an hour tonight makes me feel somewhat unsettled and hurried. So, I start making my to-do list. But, then Peter’s words come to my mind and remind me to just “be.” Of course, some of you Type A people might suggest that it takes some doing just for you “to be.” Perhaps that is right because we are rather programmed to “do.”  Especially if you are a professional church worker or highly involved in volunteer activities at church or other non-profits. Peter’s song is inspired by St. Paul’s lovely little text message to the Ephesians: “
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

I believe that I’ve heard the following question several times leading up to Lent and then for the past few days: “What are you doing for Lent?” It is usually attached to another question, “What are you giving up for Lent.” While voluntarily giving up something for Lent is a wonderful tradition, lately it seems that we often want to give up something that we should have given up anyway (whether it is Lent or not). I’d like for us to think about this questionwhat is it that you will be for Lent?

I’d like to try this Lent to follow Peter’s invitation: 
Believe Be Light Be Love.”

So that when doubt and cynicism creeps in, that I would believe.

So that when there is darkness and the absence of hospitality and warmth that I would be light

And when there is hatred and fear, that I would have the courage to be love.

“Believe, be Light, be Love just because.”

Lenten Devotions: Pass It On

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.

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Sourdough starterMarch 7, 2014

“In the Word the walls will crumble down/
And all are welcome to enter in/
In the blood of Christ the great sacrifice
/The withered branches bloom again
/The withered branches bloom again/Pass it on/
Break the bread/Lift the cup/
Pass it on
/The broken will be lifted up” —Lyrics from the song "Pass it On" by Peter Mayer and Patricia O’Reilly

Thursday is my day off, and so it is the day that I like to bake bread. For the past year or so, I’ve been working with sourdough. Many people recall their mother or grandmother having some “friendship bread” or “starter” or “mother” inhabiting the kitchen counter or taking over the refrigerator. Whereas Garrison Keillor says, “guilt is the gift that keeps on giving,” it might actually be sourdough starter that gives and gives and gives. When people start running from you when they see you approaching them with a closed Tupperware container of this mysterious liquid,  which resembles some kind of primordial ooze, you know your friends have had enough of starter.

Father Dominic Garramone, in his great little book Bake and Be Blessed: Bread Baking as a Metaphor for Spiritual Growth writes, “Yeast symbolizes the enlivening principle in our lives, the core values and passions that make our lives worth living. For some people, work is at the center of their identity, so much so that when they retire or are no longer able to work, they lose their sense of self-worth. For others, life is centered on sports or entertainment, or on the acquisition of wealth. Other more positive values, like family, creativity, and service, can be the passions that give our lives meaning. For Christians, however, the yeast in our lives should be the good news of the kingdom.”

Today, the church commemorates Perpetua and Felicity, who were martyred on this day in 203AD. Obviously these two women (along with many other saints throughout the years) had some enlivening principle in their lives that gave them courage, hope, and stamina. Peter sings about this “something” as he invites and encourages us to “Pass it on/
Break the bread/Lift the cup/
Pass it on/The broken will be lifted up.”

In my humble opinion, there is nothing more elegant and grand than sharing good, warm, fresh baked bread with others. The aroma that fills the house is welcoming and pleasant to behold. The simple, basic ingredients of wheat, water, yeast, salt, and sugar—when mixed together, kneaded, and then baked in the heat of the oven—produce a product that is pleasing to the eye and delights the mouth and stomach.

I think of how Jesus, the Bread of Life, utilized the disciples as a pre-ferment, as a starter, as mother dough for the rest of us. Those of you who bake and work with sourdough know the ingredients are simple: flour and water. Flour and water combined with wild yeast spores, and all of the sudden there is something happening. And yes, even if you can’t see it, you can smell it. Jesus took these 12 average, regular people and worked with them for three years. He set them aside. One day in Bible class, someone said that he must have seen something in them that they didn’t even know they themselves had. I think that’s true. And just like sourdough starter, to be kept together in a jar doesn’t do any good. What needs to happen is to get mixed up with the rest of the recipe. This flavor, this energy of the sourdough is just like that of the disciples, of you and me. We are called to get mixed up in God’s loving recipe for the world. And when that happens we, along with the others, get transformed and made new.

Photo: Pastor Glusenkamp's sourdough starter. (Ron Glusenkamp)

Lenten Devotions: "You Are There"

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

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St-martin-in-the-fieldsMarch 6, 2014

"It's been a long, long road but I'm coming back to find you/Took hold of my heart long ago wanna be back beside you/It's been a long, long road but I'm coming back to find you/One sound came a-tumblin' down Jericho/Breaking the walls that bind you." —Lyrics from the song "Musicbox," by Peter Mayer, Jay Oliver, and Chris Walters

The picture accompanying today's devotion is of the window at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. 

I like the window a great deal. As I sit in morning prayer, I look up at it—is it an egg, a seed, or flying saucer? Some days I can see a cross. Maybe it's a womb, or a tomb. I guess it depends on one's mood and perspective.

In the introduction to his song "Musicbox," Peter Mayer says, "This is a looking-back song." Peter sings about the journey—so often you have to look back to go forward. Like the lovely window at St. Martin's, how one "sees" this song or hears it depends on one's perspective.

It could be a song about the distance between lovers. It could be about a believer's quest for God. Perhaps it is a love song sung by God indicating God's intentionality to find us no matter where we have gone.

"Wanna be back beside you/It's been a long, long road/But I'm coming back to find you."

If you are feeling lost, then this is good news for you. 

Psalm 139 reveals this truth: "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast." 

Today, be on the lookout for a God who "breaks down the walls that bind you."

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