Greetings from Peter Mayer

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breaking Bread- Easter 3a

Easter 3 (a)
May 4, 2014
Pastor Ronald T. Glusenkamp
Breaking Bread

Luke 24:13–35
The colorful story of Jesus' appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus answers the question of how Jesus is to be recognized among us. Here, he is revealed through the scriptures and in the breaking of bread.

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" 19He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." 25Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

      Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
      pass the Word around: loaves abound!
      Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
            pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Text: Fred Kaan, b. 1929
Text © 1975 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

Grace and peace to you from our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I like the pattern because it is a familiar one, “taking, blessing, breaking and giving.”
And it was in that moment when they were eating the bread that they re-cognized Jesus for who he was.

I’ve got a painting here by Caravaggio that was done in 1601. It now hangs in room 32 at the National Gallery in London. It’s one of my favorite paintings for several reasons. I like the moment that it captures. The gentleman on the right looks as if he is going to need a defibrillator. Jesus looks different as well. He doesn’t have a beard. It’s a great representation of still life- but life as they know it isn’t going to be “still’ any more. It’s as if the earth shook! They are seeing Jesus and it all comes back to them. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the seven-mile walk to Emmaus.
They were walking with him, but didn’t see him. So, like Mary Magdalene who recognized Jesus when she heard him calling her by name, these disciples finally “see” when they eat the bread.

You know me well enough after eight years to share with you what’s on my heart and my mind. So, like those disciples we too have been on a journey together with Jesus. And then this past week you received the news that I had received a call from the ELCA to be the Director of the ELCA Campaign-“Always Being Made New.”.  It was after much prayer and conversation that I accepted the call. As I’ve shared with many of you, “it would have been easy to stay. But, I can’t encourage others to accept and follow their calls if I am not willing to be open to God’s call.”

I want to tell you a story. When we moved to Minneapolis several years ago we found
ourselves in the position of having to find a church for the first time. So, we did some “church shopping.” We were at one church for about a year until we went to another one, Edina Community Lutheran Church that we finally joined. We did so because of its outreach and sense of community that we felt. They had two pastors there, Pastor Erik and Pastor Melanie. Our family liked the fact that there was a male and a female. Pastor Erik gave very academic, prophetic sermons (and still does). Pastor Melanie sometimes broke out into song during her sermons. They were different and we loved them both!
One day we got the letter from church announcing that Pastor Melanie was leaving.
I couldn’t believe it. I said to Sue Ann, “so, this is how it feels.” For I had left three congregations before and knew what I t felt like from that side of the pulpit, pew or altar- that as a pastor to say goodbye to the congregation. But I didn’t know what it felt like as a parishioner say goodbye to a pastor.

After I got over my shock, I was like, “don’t we get to vote on this?” I mean when we call a pastor we vote on her or him. And so I found myself feeling sad, somewhat angry and also happy for the new venture that Pastor Melanie had been called to. Mixed emotions for sure. I remembered some of the things that Pastor Melanie had said which had touched my heart. I also listened to Pastor Erik and other leaders as they expressed their own grief, but led the congregation through that time. After some time transpired, a call committee was established. I was surprised by whom they called and I didn’t want to like the new pastor. She wasn’t Pastor Melanie, she was Pastor Pam And I knew that I’d have to start all over again with her. . But, over time, I came to love her and her way of doing things. ON our final Sunday when we left to move here to Denver there it was Pastor Pam who cried when she said “farewell and Godspeed to us.” She now has recently left that congregation to be a pastor in Northfield, MN. So, the circle continues.

I don’t assume to know what you are feeling or thinking today. I do want to hear you. The leadership is setting up various times for us to walk, talk and break bread together.

I will tell you where I am. I am so grateful for what we’ve done together. We’ve gathered around the table together where Jesus has taken, blessed, broken and given the bread out so that others might see the resurrected Jesus in the world today.

      Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
      Pass the Word around: loaves abound!
      Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
            pass the Word around: loaves abound!

(Go Back to Photo)

What I know most of all is there is always a place at the table. This painting reveals that. We are invited to dine with  Jesus and there is a space, a place right there for each one of us.

I am feeling love and peace in my heart for you. I celebrate the equipping, empowering and unleashing that has taken place and will continue to  blossom and grow.

Christ is Raised; He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

BNA - Go, Tell + See

Easter Sunday 2014
April 20, 2014
Pastor Ronald T. Glusenkamp
“BNA-Go, Tell + See”

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then 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." 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then 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 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.”
So, let’s try that one time-

“This is the day that the | LORD has made;”
    “ 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 it’s 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;”
    “ 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.

 I took the $10 I received, to by ingredients for making hot cross buns. And I told Sue Ann that she could tell some of her running buddies that I was making hot cross buns and would be selling them with all the proceeds going to the Spring Forth appeal. It’s a great way to evangelize while also providing some tasty treats in honor of the Resurrection. So the other day I was in a meeting and I get this text message from Sue Ann, “how much would it be for some hot cross nuns?” And then once she realized her typing mistake, the word, “buns” appeared about 12 times on my screen.  I’m just hoping the church council or the NSA aren’t monitoring my phone.

“This is the day that the | LORD has made;”
    “ let us rejoice and be | glad in it.”

As a baker, I have learned especially in making hot cross buns that it is in those spaces and places where the depression or the imprint of the cross is the greatest, that’s exactly the place where the sweetness of the icing runs to first. It is the same with the gospel message of our Risen Lord and Savior-it’s in the markings, the cuts, the scrapers, the brokenness of life that the sweetness of Jesus comes and makes whole. It is in those very depths of our world, hunger, homelessness, illness, separation and brokenness that you and I like the women, like the disciples, are commissioned to GO, TELL and they will SEE! That’s what our BE THE BLESSING Sunday is all about and you can sign up for it next Sunday!

Take a look at the bulletin and the names of loved ones who now celebrate the feast of victory-you know, that because of Easter that Jesus is with them and they are with Jesus. Ultimately one day we will all be together again.

“This is the day that the | LORD has made;”
    “ let us rejoice and be | glad in it.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s been years or just recently that you’ve lost a loved one. Maybe you’re wrestling with your vocation or a health issue for yourself or another. Easter is about “all things being made new.” For “with God nothing is impossible.” Nine years ago this week my mother, Levera died. She and my grandmothers are the ones who taught me how to bake. As my mother was dying my siblings and I stood around her bed. One sister is a social worker, one is an attorney, my younger brother Bob is an architect. Our brother Tom, pre-deceased our parents. As we stood there, my sibs all looked to me and kinda motioned, “do something religious.” I asked them, “what do you want me to do, take an offering?” But, I knew what they wanted, so I asked, “mom, do you want to sing a hymn?” And without missing a beat, she said, “Yes, I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” We sang that song like nobody’s business. It was a holy moment. So, I thought, I’d keep it going  I said, “Mom, is there another hymn you’d like to sing?” Once again she shook her head and said, “Yes, 
“Don’t sit under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me.”  And so we did!

A crazy story-but doesn’t hold a candle to the story we’ve seen in the Bible this Lent.
For way back in the beginning in the garden of Eden-we heard about Adam and Eve breaking bad and falling away. And what it amazing that as we following the family tree that we’re connected to, it is also in an apple- that we see a STAR- which points us to the manger- to the cross, to the empty tomb. Throughout it all there is this red thread of redemption and the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ.
“This is the day that the | LORD has made;”
    “ let us rejoice and be | glad in it.”

Former Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson used to say, “it is in the church’s DNA to say, BNA!” “BE NOT AFRAID.” Both the angel and Jesus said, “Be Not Afraid.” (Source)

 I think that’s just wonderful because no matter who you are-there probably is something that you’re afraid of. When we look around at our world, there’s plenty be afraid of, but when we look around at the empty tomb, when death has been conquered by LIFE, when darkness has been cast out by LIGHT, when hate has been dismissed by LOVE and when fear has been shattered by HOPE we know that
“This is the day that the | LORD has made;”
    “ let us rejoice and be | glad in it.”

LET’s SING about it! And then “GO-TELL and they will SEE”


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hot Cross Buns

+Easter Vigil+

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
Stirrin’ Up the Water  by Peter Mayer

I’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 some 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…discourage smoking, drug use and teen pregnancy.
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

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

Allelujah now we SING!



Friday, April 18, 2014

Cross-Fit - Good Friday

+Good Friday+

“But nobody wants to know him,

They can see that he’s just a fool,

And he never gives an answer,
But the fool on the hill

Sees the sun going down,

And the eyes in his head,

See the world spinning around.”
Fool On the Hill  by Lennon/McCartney

Peter loves to sing songs written by The Beatles.  More info HERE.

Whenever he sings this song or "All you need is Love” (neither one of which is in most Denominational hymnbooks- although if I had a vote they would be included) I think of Good Friday. For today is about the foolishness of the cross and of course, the foolishness of love, and thank God for that!

Today’s devo contains a couple of helpful resources for you. First of all, take a trip to the National Gallery in London. This link will get you started on a lovely altarpiece on which you can mediate.

Next there is a great app from the Church of England that can help you download Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer services which have all sorts of lovely lessons and prayers each day. Check out today’s prayer:
Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be glory and praise for ever.
As we behold your Son, enthroned on the cross,
stir up in us the fire of your love,
that we may be cleansed from all our sins,
and walk with you in newness of life
singing the praise of him who died
for us and our salvation.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Blessed be God for ever. Amen.  (Source:  HERE)  

 A few weeks ago as part of our First Communion seminar for 3rd graders and their parents I asked the participants to write down a sin on a post-it note. In the event that parents needed more paper, I offered them extra post-it notes. If the children could not spell their sin, I told them to draw it. Then I collected the sins (without looking at them). I put them on a big stake (nail) which we then took into the courtyard and hammered into a large cross. 

The stack of sins was then lit on fire. As the fire moved through the sins the paper “morphed” into the shape of a rose and then it simply disintegrated. You could have heard a pin drop. Now, in some quarters of the faithful this activity has become passé. However, I think it provides a graphic example of how God’s sin took on to himself what was ours and through the pain and fire of death on the cross reduces all the times we’ve missed the mark and forgives us.

I pray for you today- may you feel forgiven and free.

One more Beatle song:  God wants “to hold your hand”