Greetings from Peter Mayer

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trinity h2odevos 033111

H2o devos fia 033111 Trinity





“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”

www.petermayer.com/songs/be-etc

Thanks to all of you who sent encouraging words and thoughts about BTB- Be the Blessing Sunday. Your delight and joy around this ministry gives us encouragement, hope and peace. It is as Peter sings, “Believe, be Light, be Love just because.”

Delia’s angel for today is “Trinity.” I really like the three circles on her front.
Just yesterday I was reminded once again of the connections, the linkages and bonds we have with one another that transcend geography, time and current place.

It is as St. Paul wrote, “Grace, Love and Communion.”

“13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” 2 Cor 13:13

We’re hoping that approximately 1,000 people will join us on BTB Sunday. We even have green bracelets to “tell the story” of “Grace, Love and Communion.”



“Believe, be Light, be Love just because”






It is “God’s Work. Our Hands!”

rtg

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Purpose h2odevos fia 033011

H2o devos 033011 Purpose
Wednesday




“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”

www.petermayer.com/songs/be-etc


I just love this song by Peter. It’s soothing. It’s inspiring! It’s rockin’. Peter has brought the message of Micah 6:8 into a memorable line of lyrics:

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

“Believe, be Light, be Love just because”

Peter has a gift when it comes to words. He makes them rhyme and places them in juxtaposition to each other. There is a lovely economy in this holy trinity,
“Believe, be Light, be Love.” And if you need a reason to do that, he provides one, “
just because!

His words embody the meaning and message of Delia’s “Purpose.” It seems to me that her wings are made from hinges. I am mindful of Jesus’ words,

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture,” (John 10:9) and
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you,” (Luke 11:9).
Our purpose is to have wings of hinges, to “Believe, be Light, be Love just because.”

Hannah, Nate and I are reading Barefoot Disciple-Walking the Way of Passionate Humility by Stephen Cherry . As part of our Lenten journey we committed to read this book together and talk about it once a week. We had our first conversation last week and spent some time talking to one another about this quote:
“Ministry is nothing as long as it is a theory, and yet, when it becomes a humble practice, it can be a powerful force for good, and announcement and anticipation of God’s kingdom.” (page 32) I am very grateful for the fact that Nate, Noah and Hannah all strive in their personal and professional lives to be “forces for good.”

At one point this year, Intern Jess approached me about having a “service blast day” at Bethany. I think the angel “ Purpose” must have been in the room and so I said, “let’s do it on a Sunday and CANCEL church!”
So, read on!
If you show up to worship as usual at 8:00 or 9:00 am at Bethany on Sunday, May 22, you may find the building empty. A sign will say that worship is cancelled



at these times and our congregation has joined the service in the neighborhoods of our community. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to walk the walk that we usually talk Sunday mornings, because on May 22, the Church won’t be contained by walls: we’ll be let loose in Denver! There will be opportunities to serve fit for little ones through 100 year olds. Your spiritual gift might be prayer, so a special service will be held at 10:30am to pray that we might BTB.
Answer the call to worship in a whole new way as a part of our Be The Blessing service day! Jesus commands and compels us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and reminds us that when we serve others, we serve God (Matthew 25:31-40.) We are blessed in order that we may be a blessing to others. Be the Blessing May 22, 2011.
To read more about the day, check out :
www.bethany-denver2.org/outreach/btb-be-the-blessing/

If you don’t live in the Denver area we invite you to remember our congregation and partners on that date.




Intern Jess designed “BEE the Blessing” as a carnival mask for our carnival fund and fun raiser for youth mission trips.

Be Aware today how you can BE………………………………

“Believe, be Light, be Love just because”

It’s all the buzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
rtg

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Strength h2o devos fia 032901

H2o devos fia 032911 Strength



“Longer than shadows
Closer than emptiness
Oh…. Mighty this love
Oh…. Mighty this love
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”

www.petermayer.com/songs/mighty-this-love



At the same time there is something ironic and holy about a “stained glass clown.”
Usually only very serious people get their image made into a stained glass window.
I remember as a child looking at all sorts of stained glass windows (primarily in churches). I don’t ever remember anyone ever being depicted as smiling. In fact, in most cases the images were of martyrs who were giving up their life for the sake of the gospel.

So this stained glass clown (a gift from my wife Sue Ann, given to me 30 years ago when I was ordained) captures the “foolishness of the gospel). Designed by seminary classmate David Rumbold it features big green hair; a large red nose; a great smile; a cross and a rainbow. Contrary to popular belief, I was not the model for the clown! %^))))
The clown reflects the words of St. Paul who wrote to the Corinthians i chapter 1:25,

“For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.”

Delia’s angel “Strength” coupled with the lyrics of Peter’s song reflect the whole notion of strength and weakness. God’s love as Peter sings is “Mighty.” At times it might appear to be “weak” or even “foolish” but it is “Mighty.” In the midst of whatever struggles we are going through we are connected by a “chain of love” which connects us to God, to one another, to the past and to the future.

Peter’s song and Delia’s “Strength” echo the lovely words from Isaiah 55:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.


I pray that today you will experience “Strength” in new, different and even funny ways.

Peace,
rtg

Monday, March 28, 2011

Transformation h2o devos fia 032811

H2o devos fia 032811 Transformation


“Cruisin' downtown on a Friday night
Hey honey baby that's a real nice ride
Take me somewhere anywhere fast just step on the gas
Chorus
They all come back one day to Romeo's Garage
They all come back one day to Romeo's Romeo's garage”

www.petermayer.com/songs/romeos-garage

I think that one of the first times I ever heard Peter sing “Romeo’s Garage” it was Christmas Eve at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It was a holy moment. It seemed to me that I “time-traveled” back to the manger in a little town called Bethlehem.
It was in that “service station” the Word was made flesh. God the Ultimate Lover and Romeo of the universe “repairs” the people of the world in that “garage.” I looked out at the congregation to see the regulars, visitors, guests and prodigal daughters and sons coming back to the manger, Romeo’s Garage.

Delia’s angel “Transformation” is a serious but comical character. One just has to smile when you look at her. And so with those smiles it is my hope and prayer that any sadness or problems you have today experience a “Transformation” through the “transmission” of joy in today’s devo.


“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12


Blessings on your road trip today.
Peace,
rtg

Sunday, March 27, 2011

INSPIRATION 032711 The 3rd Sunday of Lent -The Blessing of Community

H2o devos fia 032711 Inspiration
The 3rd Sunday of Lent
The Blessing of Community
Happy Birthday Trina Glusenkamp Gould



We hunt for miles and all the while it paints the scenery
Scatters and whirls an arabesque
Chorus
Hey ey Hey ey this mercy moves
God is loose hey ey
God is loose in the world
Hey ey hey ey the universe is singing
Loose hey hey God is loose in the world”

www.petermayer.com/songs/loose-in-the-world

“Inspiration” hovers over my desk in my office at home. Sue Ann collaborated with Delia to make sure that this lovely angel would “inspire” me on a daily basis. Several weeks before Christmas 2010 I found a busted tire gauge. So, I gave it to Delia one day as we were talking about angels and Lent 2011. . Lo and behold on Christmas morning, “Inspiration” was right beneath our Christmas tree.
St. Paul wrote to the folks living I Galatia. They were having all sorts of problems, issues and church fights. Some folks were still living by the flesh. Paul texted them with a series of “tweets” about what the flesh does to a person and also to folks in community. After he shared with them that he “didn’t like” the way they were living he provided a great post about the fruit of the Spirit:

22By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.


The line, “there is no law against such things” was St. Paul’s way of saying, “go for it!”

As we begin our third week of Lent our congregation is focus on The Blessing of Community. Check out these words about “social capital.”

 “Social capital refers to social networks, norms of reciprocity, mutual assistance, and trustworthiness. The central insight of this approach is that social networks have real value both for the people in those networks-hence networking as a career strategy, for example, as well as for bystanders... “both bonding and bridging social networks have their uses. Bonding social capital is a kind of sociological Super Glue, whereas Bridging social capital provides a sociological WD-40. (page 2)
Robert Putnam and Lewis M. Feldstein in
Better Together: Restoring the American Communing







I grew up in a home where we gathered around the table each and every day at 5:30pm. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there were some very important community lessons being modeled and taught by Frank and Levera Glusenkamp and Grandma Vogel (my mom’s mom).
 Miriam Weinstein in her book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals- How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier writes: “families who eat supper together”
 Discourage smoking, drug use, and teen pregnancy
 Position their kids to do better in school
 Pass on their ethnic, familial, and religious heritage
 Help prevent eating disorders and obesity
 Build their kid’s literacy, vocabulary, and conversational skills
 Teach their kids manners
 Promote a sense of resilience that will last a lifetime
 Enjoy each other more as a family

I hope you experience the angel of “Inspiration” today and decide to celebrate the blessing of community. You can gather together, eat together, pray together, walk together and be “super glue and/or wd 40” for one another and your communities.
And hey, if you want me to come over for dinner, just give me a shout!

Peace,
rtg

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Serenity h2o devos fia 032611

H2o devos fia 032611 Serenity




“Every morning lately I wake up and find me gone
Feel a weight on my shoulders and I think of movin' on
Looked to the sky saw a black wing gull soar for miles on a boundless wind
With no need to understand what carries him
Chorus
Rising up falling down goin' round in ageless circles
Spotlight upstaging all our wanderings
Chasing dreams and desires
They don't know their distance from the fire
That shines on everyone
Walking to the sun”


www.petermayer.com/songs/walking-to-the-sun
Last night when I was writing this devo my ITUNES account was rocking to:
“Walking in your Footsteps” by THE POLICE
“Walking on the Moon” by THE POLICE
“Walking on Broken Glass” by ANNIE LENNOX and
“Walking to the Sun” by Peter Mayer

Yesterday morning, Intern Jess and I “walked” through the entire Bible in 25 minutes. Jess wrote up this amazing way to communicate the “story arc” of the Bible after having inspiring conversations with another staff member, Joni Grundman. Joni and Jess presented it to our confirmation students and parents earlier this year. And then on a Sunday morning at all three services on February 27th, Jess and I presented in just 25 minutes. If you click on the link, you can listen to it or download the script from the pdf.
So, as I stated, Intern Jess and I “walked” or more appropriately we “RAN” through the entire Bible in 25 minutes at a chapel service at Denver Christian School on Friday morning.
www.bethany-denver2.org/church-life/sermons/?sermon_id=180
You know as well as I do that our lives involve times when we walk “through the valley of the shadow of death” as well as when we “walk to the sun.” There are “ups and downs” as well as “in’s and out’s.” As Peter sings,
“Rising up falling down goin' round in ageless circles
Spotlight upstaging all our wanderings
Chasing dreams and desires”


As I indicated a week ago, I’ve been going to physical therapy to help “heal up” my knee and Achilles heel. I’m doing well. The treatments are working and helping me grow stronger. I just wish that it was happening faster. But, I need to have more patience.

That’s where the angel “Serenity” comes in. I know that whatever you and I are experiencing didn’t come about as a result of one minute, one day, one week or one month. And the reality of it is that whatever we are wrestling with isn’t going to go away in just one minute, one day, one week or one month.
As Niebuhr wrote and prayed,

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
May the angel “Serenity” fly into your life today and all days.

Peace,
rtg

Friday, March 25, 2011

Courage h2o devos fia 032511 +The Annuciation of our Lord+

H2o devos 032511 “Courage”
March 25
The Annunciation of our Lord




“Little shoes bring me the news the sky has come down to play
Winter snows and summers will go with no time for yesterday
A is for Angel that's where we start
A is for angel took hold of my heart”

www.petermayer.com/songs/a-is-for-angel


“Let it be.” Those words were first spoken by Mary, the Mother of our Lord when the angel Gabriel came to her with a heavenly birth announcement. So often we see great paintings like the one by Carlo Crivelli
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/carlo-crivelli-the-annunciation-with-saint-emidius
which depict the appearance of Gabriel winging in to see Mary. I would like to suggest on this holy day that we celebrate the “announcement” of a lifetime that there was another angel in the room that day. The angel I am referring to is “Courage.” For it took at great deal of courage for this young girl to be open, vulnerable and receptive enough to hear and believe the angel’s message. “Let it be,” is what she said. It’s a prayer. It’s a dream. It’s an answer.
Today you might want to mediate on the notion of “Courage.” What angel might be visiting you with a message full of potentiality, hope and new life? How might you and I have the courage to say and pray “Let it be.”

Pour your grace into our hearts, O God, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ, announced by an angel, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; for he lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen” (ELW)

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God." 38Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
several listeners and readers have responded to the conversation on PEACE
From Mark Reinking- St. Louis
“For me, peace is finding that place where I acknowledge the God is in control, not me.”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From Warren Miller-Denver
“A few quick thoughts...

Peace has so many dimensions -- it can be illusive, and yet, it can be found. It seems it comes to us and to the world in it's own time; then it can dart away so quickly. For so many it seems to not come at all. "My peace be with you..." just isn't.

Time and distance from our Center and the tawdry tale of our human circumstance hides us from the face of peace. Then, at the Holy Spirit's time Peace joins with Hope and we are found. "My peace be with you ..." is.

Once we find Peace and Hope we don't want to let them go; Peace and Hope are so very soothing to the soul. It's in Peace and with Abundant Hope we find our footing in our relations with God and our fellow man...”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From Andrea Moser
“I’ve been thinking about your email on Peace all day. It’s Wednesday, I have a standing “lunch date” with my grandfather who has dementia. I go during his lunch and visit instead of after work. It started when we first moved him to a nursing home as a way to reassure him I’d visit, it gave him a sense of peace that he could count on Wednesdays even though I’m frequently there more often. My way of giving him peace has given much more peace to me. Peace is lunch in the day room at the nursing home with grandpa, the quiet moments we share when he’s having lunch. He needs help more and more these days but there is a sense of peace during the meal when we laugh and he tells me of a Key West I never knew. “
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“The Peace of God is what I seek when everything around me appears to be chaos. His peace gives me the ability to stop, regain my focus, and see what needs to be compeleted. Even in those times I may have fear about the task that needs to be completed, the peace of God gives me the strength to see it through.



May His peace be with you today as well,”

Jeff Sagester
Midlothian, VA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guidance h2o devos fia 032411

H2o devos fia 032411 Guidance



“Tried to run fast enough
Tried to fly high enough
Thought that I could dive deep enough
To lose your hold on me
The end of the road the bottom of the glass
The grip of fear that holds you fast
Lost in the valley no song to sing
When you're brushed by an angel's wings

And you're Still in One Peace
Still in One Peace
We are blessed we are broken
Given one more chance to be
Found in you we are In One Peace”

www.petermayer.com/songs/still-in-one-peace

Peter sings, “We are blessed we are broken,” I know those words to be authentic and true. As I look around at the good people assembled at the services on Sunday morning or on Wednesdays I see people who are blessed. At the same time I am aware of some of their stories (as well as my own) which let me know that there is a brokenness which is embodied in each one of us.

So there is a potential tension which exists as we hear the call of an angel to “be still in One Peace.” The pace of our lives is at such an intensity at times that it’s hard to “be still.” And yet, that is exactly what Psalm 46:10 calls us to:
"Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth."


Delia’s angel “Guidance” appears to be weather-beaten and is a little rough around the edges. There is a hole in one of the wings. It seems there are stains or scars.
St. Paul offered the young pastor Timothy some “guidance”
“8I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19having faith and a good conscience.”
So, “fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience.” Sounds like a
winner to me.
rtg

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Peace h2o devos fia 032311

H2o devos fia 032311 Peace



“Tried to run fast enough
Tried to fly high enough
Thought that I could dive deep enough
To lose your hold on me
The end of the road the bottom of the glass
The grip of fear that holds you fast
Lost in the valley no song to sing
When you're brushed by an angel's wings

And you're Still in One Peace
Still in One Peace
We are blessed we are broken
Given one more chance to be
Found in you we are In One Peace”


www.petermayer.com/songs/still-in-one-peace

It has been said and we’ve all heard it a zillion times, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We all know that to be true. But, how about today praying, meditating and hoping on a word “that is worth a thousand pictures?” Today’s word and angel is “Peace.”
The wings of “Peace” are actually something which is part of a fence post and meant to be buried in the ground in order that the fence post might have a secure foundation.
The same holds true for “Peace.”
So today imagine “Peace” winging into your space, your place and all the spaces and places in the world where Shalom needs to be seeded, blossom and grow.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
Send your thoughts, prayers and insights about “Peace” to h2odevos@earthlink.net and we’ll share them with the group
peace,
rtg

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

h2o devos fia BLESSING 032211 WORLD WATER DAY

H2o devos 032211 Blessing
World Water Day
Water.org




“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”

www.petermayer.com/songs/stirrin-up-the-water


If I had to describe the amazing gift of water in just one word, I’d say, “blessing.”
It’s a blessing that most of us take for granted. Even our ancestors in Exodus 17:1-7 took water for granted until they didn’t have it. Their complaining and quarrels revealed their dehydrated spirits.

The good people at Water.org have a basic vision and mission:
We envision the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water. It is easy to take for granted ready access to a safe supply of drinking water. Yet nearly one billion people lack this most basic commodity. Creating accessible, safe water supplies in developing countries liberates people to live healthier, fuller, more productive lives.
Our Mission
Water.org is challenging the traditional approach to assisting people in developing countries. Our goals are to draw attention to the world’s number one health problem, unsafe and inadequate water supplies, and to raise funds to help fight this immense problem – one community at a time.
Our mission is to inspire people to act:
• Donors – to provide consistent financial resources with a sense of solidarity for those in need of safe water
• Staff and volunteers – to seek innovative and efficient solutions to meeting the global water supply needs of today and tomorrow
• People in need of safe water – to take the lead in meeting their own needs
Together, these people form the “waterpartnership” that will allow us to realize our vision.



Listen or read the first line of their vision one more time:
We envision the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.
It’s so beautiful. It’s so necessary. It’s so large. I’m in, how about you?
So, today join the 1,000,000 voices who are raising awareness about this.

Remember the words of Jesus that will be heard in many churches this coming Sunday:
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." 11The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" 13Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." 15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." John 4

As Peter signs,
“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”


join Gary White and Water.org in “stirrin’ it up”

rtg

Monday, March 21, 2011

God is Loose/Untamed Spirit 0321/11 h2o devos fia 032111

H2o devos fia 032111 God is Loose/Untamed Spirit
Monday
www.un.org/en/events/poetryday/
World Poetry Day



There is a lot going on today. First of all, it’s World Poetry Day!
Yea, God bless the poets. Two of my favorite poets are Peter Mayer and Brenda Greenwald. So, today you have the opportunity to sample their work which just happens to focus in on the Spirit of God. Some people would call that a coincidence, but I happen to call it “H2o devos HGI” (instead of CSI) HGI which stands for Holy Ghost Incident!

Delia’s angel by the name of “Hope” has a “spring” or buoyancy to it. It’s the Spirit of God that keeps us bouncing along in our world and daily lives. The way the explanation of the Third Article to the Creed states it, “the Holy Spirit, calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth.”

Peter sings, “We hunt for miles and all the while it paints the scenery
Scatters and whirls an arabesque
Chorus
Hey ey Hey ey this mercy moves
God is loose hey ey
God is loose in the world
Hey ey hey ey the universe is singing
Loose hey hey God is loose in the world”

www.petermayer.com/songs/loose-in-the-world
Brenda Greenwald wrote the song, “Untamed Spirit” for worship on Sunday.
She says the the text for "Untamed Spirit" is: Genesis 12:1-4 meets John 3:1-17 meets
• a childhood hymn (Spirit of the Living God) meets
• my very favorite Brahms piano piece (Waltz in A Flat)
• meets the Holy Spirit of Baptism!
It totally rocked and you can read more about it at”
brenda1eye.blogspot.com/2011/03/untamed-spirit.html

Untamed Spirit
tune: iverson, brahms
text: brenda lynn greenwald


Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, Fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me.


Stir from deep within the Spirit of new birth.
For out of darkness into light,
The Savior dwells here on earth.
The promise made, so long ago,
Tells us to let the Spirit blow.
The cursed be cursed, the blessed be blessed,
Our human disbelief confess.


For God so loved the world, He sent
His only son, live testament,
So we’d believe, and have eternal life.


We live in now, not yet,
Our journey keeps us walking wet.
The cleansing hope, the font of life,
Our Christ, our Jesus bears our strife.

Let your light shine so others see
Your works, and Glory be to thee!
We welcome all as members of the body!

GO! Be a blessing to all
Our Father has issued the call!
Gathered and Sent, Baptized and claimed,
Praising God for the Spirit yet untamed!

P: Dominus vobiscum. P: The Lord be with you.


R: Et cum spiritu tue. R: And with thy spirit.

May you have the angel of “Hope” spring into you life today!
Peace,
rtg

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SOLITUDE h2o devos fia 032011 2nd Sunday in Lent

H2o devos fia 032011 Solitude
2nd Sunday in Lent
March 20, 2011



“Only You can break down the walls that hide me away
Only You can turn the night into day
Only You can stop the darkness from over taking me
Created the land the sky and sea
I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You”


www.petermayer.com/songs/only-you

During Lent we’ve been taking time to “own” the blessing of each week.
• The Blessing of Fasting
• The Blessing of Solitude
• The Blessing of Community
• The Blessing of being Unplugged
• The Blessing of being Plugged in
• The Blessing of Feasting
So, today, I’d like to introduce you to “Solitude.” I see the “waves” down her front. Or maybe those are “mountain tops” she has scaled along the way. This week we are focusing on our primary relationship with God.
As the Psalmist sang many years ago,
“One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.”
Psalm 27:4


Peter sings,
“I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You”

There are questions in the heart and soul. Peter has come to the conclusion after much asking, prayer, doubting and service that “ the answer to me is only You” I thank you for making this virtual Lenten journey with one another. I pray for you each and every day.
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety”
Psalm 4:8




We have a labyrinth set up today at church. It’s always available on Wednesdays in Lent, but today we have it going so that we can invite a larger group of folks into this ancient practice of walking and talking to God .
”He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.”
Psalm 62:2
Eugene Peterson has some great words about how we can be in “solitude” with God.
His translation of Matthew 6 is brilliant. I commend it to you,
Peace,
rtg

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Matthew 6
The World Is Not a Stage
1 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity
5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
14-15"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.
16-18"When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Faith -(New) St. Joseph Day h2o devos 031911

H2o devos 031911 FAITH
St. Joseph Day




“Joseph a good man of Carpenter's trade
Had made plans to make Mary his mate
Then an angel appeared and said Joe don't you fear
But the Spirit will dance with your date
The Spirit will dance with your date
Chorus
Hey Joseph Keep walking Hey Joseph keep walking
Hey Joseph Keep walking To Bethlehem
Hey Joseph Keep walking Hey Joseph keep walking
Keep walking Joseph you're part of the plan”

www.petermayer.com/songs/hey-joseph


Today is the day of St. Joseph. There are lots of things happening today. There is a perigree moon tonight. Check out links at the bottom of the page for more info. You can also check out a really great article about asparagus which has a connection to St. Joseph Tables which are lovingly prepared and celebrated in Italian households and parishes.
You can even read an article in the WSJ about the custom of burying a statue of St. Joseph in one’s yard when trying to sell your house.

But what I want to talk about is FAITH. Joseph was a “stand-up” guy. He was trying to do the right thing. He thought he had it figured out, regarding what he was supposed to do and how to do it. But, an angel came to him in a dream and revealed God’s plan for him, for Mary and ultimately for the baby they would name Jesus.

Delia’s “Faith” has wings with holes in them. I’m sure that initially these “gaps” felt like cavities. And that these hollowed out spaces didn’t feel very “hallowed” or holy. Joseph like his wings was “torn.” There were “holes” in whatever story he decided to tell himself and community. However, he was blessed with faith. This carpenter was used to working with his hands to ensure a smooth surface and angles which were plum. But, now his world was quickly falling apart. “Faith” was the super glue that held it all together.

20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."



Peter sings,

“Hey Joseph Keep walking Hey Joseph keep walking
Keep walking Joseph you're part of the plan”

The same holds true for us, “we’re part of the plan.” I always share with people who talk to me about “holes” in their wings the following verse from Jeremiah 29:11,
11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Remember, “you’re part of the plan,”
Peace
rtg

Enrichment stuff

Wall Street Journal article about St. Joseph

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703572404575634710688904310.html?KEYWORDS=st+joseph

MOON STUFF

science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/16mar_supermoon/

MOON VIDEO

bcove.me/bua62bw5

ASPARAGUS

www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/asparagus.html

THE REST OF THE STORY
18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. Matthew 1

Friday, March 18, 2011

Encouragement h2odevos fia 031811

H2o devos fia 031811 Encouragement
Friday


“Tried to run fast enough
Tried to fly high enough
Thought that I could dive deep enough
To lose your hold on me
The end of the road the bottom of the glass
The grip of fear that holds you fast
Lost in the valley no song to sing
When you're brushed by an angel's wings
And you're Still in One Peace
Still in One Peace
We are blessed we are broken
Given one more chance to be
Found in you we are In One Peace”

www.petermayer.com/songs/still-in-one-peace

Last weekend at our Lenten retreat I tripped down the last few steps of a staircase and ended up on the floor. I bruised my ego and pride along with my left knee. It’s been almost a week and I’m still walking and making noises like the AFLAC duck. So, yesterday I went to see my favorite physical therapist Susan. She along with her colleagues were very instrumental in getting me back on my feet following my double knee replacement in April 2008. As she was assessing my current situation today I also shared with her that I thought my right ankle and Achilles heel was acting up. As always she was thoughtful, helpful and very encouraging.

Peter sings about being “brushed by the wings of an angel.” Today I want to give a “shout out” to all those angels whose name is “Encouragement.” For on a daily basis these are the kind entities who help us get through our days and nights. When you look at “Encouragement” designed by Delia you can imagine other angels by the same name who have encouraged you along the way. They are teachers, mechanics, servers, ushers, clerks, ticket takers, coaches, healthcare professionals, neighbors, club members, office staff, bus drivers, office staff, parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, grandparents, clergy, attorneys, neighbors and even strangers to name just a few. Perhaps they have been very intentional about this notion of encouragement. Perhaps they are unaware of how important they’ve been to you. Some of them might be deceased at this point in time. Others might be out of your current circle and network of friends. It would be good on this day to give them a “shout out” via mail, phone, text, email, Facebook and prayers.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11

I’ll see you along the way, sister encourager, brother encourager!

“Our steps are made firm by the LORD,
when he delights in our way;
24though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
for the LORD holds us by the hand.”
Psalm 37:23-24

peace,
rtg

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Acceptance h2o devos fia 031711

St. Patrick's Day 031711



“They went drivin' down the highway looking for redemption
Illinois chain gangs, Dakota grass
Stopped at Ruby's diner she said do you love me he said
I don't even know who I am
Chorus
Chain of Love
I can't break this chain of…
Chain of love…
Set me free but don't let me go”

www.petermayer.com/songs/chain-of-love

When Peter sings this song in a church building he always stops in the middle of it and says something like, “well, I don’t know if the pastor will like this or not, but if this was a Buffet concert there would be a conga line!” And with that folks who are somewhat reluctant to “pass the peace” magically and mystically get up. Without benefit of ushers or greeters, people figure it out. All of a sudden there are conga lines criss-crossing the sanctuary. Folks are laughing and dancing. It’s holy ground. It’s a “chain of love.”

We find ourselves in this “chain of love” on this day we remember St. Patrick. He’s part of the family. And when it comes to families it’s very important to have the angel of “Acceptance.”

Delia has designed “Acceptance” in such a way to push the issue of acceptance. Her wings are not symmetrical. There is oxidation taking place on her front. Her face isn’t a smooth surface. “Acceptance” is all about accepting oneself and others.

I find that when I am hyper-critical of others it is because I’m not very accepting of myself. What’s curious is that the gospel message is all about acceptance.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28. It’s significant to note that Jesus DIDN’T SAY-
“come to me, when you have it all together and are perfect.”
So today let “Acceptance” fly into your heart, your mind and your soul. Let’s see what “chains of love” we can celebrate.

St. Patrick's Day Pretzels

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

THE BLESSING OF FASTING 031611 NOON DAY sermon

March 16, 2011
“The Blessing of Fasting”
Pastor Ronald T. Glusenkamp

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

The prophet Joel proclaimed the Word of the Lord,

“Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
14Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the LORD, your God?
15Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.”

As you may know our theme as a congregation this year is “Blessed to be a Blessing!” Throughout the Sundays and Wednesdays of Lent we are intentionally asking the members and friends of Bethany to “own” each week’s blessing. Today the blessing
we are “putting on” is the blessing of fasting.

Usually when we hear the word “fast” we typically associate it with food, or abstaining from food. To undertake a fast from food, a hiatus from nutrition has a long and blessed history in most major religions. Jews, Christians and Muslims just to name the sons and daughters of Abraham all take seriously the call to “sanctify a fast.”

Big Idea: Give Up and Give Away – Fasting takes on many forms

As Joni Grundman has written in the Mentor/Mentee booklet

“Fasting is an example of a U-turn
that allows you to do without and focus on within. However,
fasting does not necessarily mean giving up all food for 24
hours. For some, that would be unhealthy. However as a traditional
Lent discipline, many people choose to eliminate one
thing like chocolate, caffeine or something else from their
diet. If the focus of Lent is on the heart, let’s think this week
about what you can fast from to help your heart. Ideas for
fasting could include giving up one of the following: soda,
energy drinks, fast food, Starbucks, chips, chocolate, cookies,
etc. God asks us to turn to him with all our hearts, when we
fast from worldly items it is easier to focus on our spiritual
journey.”

"If fasting is doing its work of liberating our focus from self-preoccupation, this will manifest itself in mercy and compassion toward those around us. We will be moved from within to give what we are receiving from God . . . Our lives will be marked by concrete caring responses for others. Fasting must deal with reality. It does not skirt issues. It is not an interior escape" (Thomas Ryan, Fasting Rediscovered, New York, Paulist Press, 1981, p. 119).


I’d like for you to gain a sense of fasting from Christina Rees who has written in her book, Feast + Fast-Food for Lent and Easter (pg. 53-54) the following things to “fast” from or simply give up during Lent:
Procrastination
Apathy
Envy
Jealousy
Greed
Laziness
Indifference
Chocolate
Sugar
Chips
Crisps
Alcohol
Sweets
Meat
Processed food
Criticizing
Negative thoughts
Cynicism
Worry
Being miserable
Holding grudges
Feelings of revenge
Feeling like a victim
Putting yourself down
Judging yourself
Judging others
Gossiping
Making excuses
Blaming others
Shopping for things you don’t need
Watching TV
Listening to the radio
Reading newspapers
Going on the internet

The first seven sound very much like the SEVEN DEADLY Sins.

Today is a time to focus on being “good” and realizing the “plenty” that most of us have.

As Intern Jess so eloquently reminded us this past Sunday, www.bethany-denver2.org/church-life/sermons/?sermon_id=183 there is a blessing in “giving up and giving in.”

Today is the day to “stop” “abstain” “refrain” and make a u-turn in thought, actions and atttidude.
It’s about your heart. It’s about your soul. It’s about your mind. You’ll be glad you did.

“Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;"

amen

check out h2odevos.blogspot.com

www.bethany-denver2.org/church-life/sermons/?sermon_id=183
www.bethany-denver2.org/church-life/our-lenten-journey-2011/

A Tip To Bountiful h2o devos fia 031617

H2o devos fia 031611 A Tip to Bountiful
Wednesday

“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”


www.petermayer.com/songs/stirrin-up-the-water



“Bountiful” the angel has a shovel for a body. It’s upside down and is rather salmon colored. Delia is hoping that you and I “dig it.”

Just the other day I had a conversation with the chair of our Stewardship Committee at church. We were talking about the General Fund. As some of you may know and understand, the General Fund is the mechanism by which the staff is paid, the facilities are maintained, programmatic ministries are supported and the parking lot is plowed and the grass is mowed (not at the same time). In a day and age of designated giving, targeted donations and personalized philanthropy it becomes harder and harder to make a “case” for the General Fund. The chair and I both concluded that we give as a response to the unconditional gift of God.

It is truly “Bountiful.” Subsequently it raises this question which the Psalmist sang years ago, Psalm 116:12

What shall I return to the LORD
for all his bounty to me?”



I’m going to make potato soup today for those who attend the noon day Lenten service.
I love “stirrin’ it up.”

I hope the participants will have a “bountiful” of smiles.

Peace,
rtg

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happiness h2odevos fia 031511

H2o devos fia 031511 Happiness
Tuesday




“Sweet Nothing …Nothing at all
Sweet Nothing…
When nothin’ makes me happy
No one does it better than you
Makes me happy”

Peter Mayer/Mac McAnally/Jim Mayer

www.petermayer.com/songs/sweet-nothing

I remember when the Good News Bible appeared in the year 1966. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_News_Bible


One of the remarkable aspects of this particular version was that it translated the word normally translated as "blessed" in the Beatitudes as "happy." There was quite a furor about whether Jesus was actually talking about people being "happy" or not.

I remember lots of caring conversations (well, actually they were arguments) whether or not "blessed" and "happy" were synonymous terms.

Today that debate and conversation seems so innocent and so long ago.


I know and I'm sure you do too, "blessed" people who aren't particularly "happy." Conversely, we all know "happy" people who don't consider themselves to be "blessed." Lent isn't normally a season where we associate "happiness" with most of the proceedings. As a youngster I remember that mid-week Advent services featured cookies and some kind of punch or hot cocoa. However, during Lent we often received a nail at mid-week services and were told to contemplate our sinfulness and responsibility in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

I've been thinking a great deal about happiness and blessedness these days. I know there are sad times as the writer of Lamentations notes:


"my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;"
(3:17)

And yet, there are also times and moments of deep, deep happiness. In fact, Jesus said,

"I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11) It is truly a blessing to be able to celebrate life and hope.

In fact, just five verses from the previous quote from Lamentations, right in the middle of all that sadness, unhappiness and struggle, these words are confessed and professed:

21But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
25The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.



Wow, talk about your attitude adjustment. Now, I don't know if that person felt "happy" but they did feel a sense of being blessed. Perhaps the recognition of being blessed leads to happiness and hope.


Rabbi Harold Kushner writes,

"Moses was wise enough to know that people will often disappoint you, that they will be weak and unreliable, that they will forget to thank you, but you must love them anyway. You must do the right thing not for the applause or the reward but because it is the right thing to do, and you must never forget who and what you are really working for. Like the man who visited his Alzheimer's afflicted wife daily, do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are." (page 47-78) Overcoming Life's Disappointments


Having the angel "Happiness" wing her way into our lives might just change how we view ourselves and others.


"For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere."
Kurt Vonnegut


So, today, maybe while you're having the Breakfast of Champions, spend some time
internalizing these words of HAPPINESS and BLESSEDNESS.


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.


Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.



Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.


Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets

who were before you.
(Matthew 5)


Happiness 2 U !

rtg

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Sweetness" h2o devos fia 031411

H2o devos fia 031411 Sweetness
Monday



“Sweet Nothing …Nothing at all
Sweet Nothing…
When nothin’ makes me happy
No one does it better than you
Makes me happy”

Peter Mayer/Mac McAnally/Jim Mayer

www.petermayer.com/songs/sweet-nothing

Yesterday my colleague Pastor Ruth Ann and I co-officiated at a wedding for Mary and John. It was a small, intimate gathering among family and friends. For both bride and groom it was a second marriage. Love was in the air. It was all so very, very sweet. A young granddaughter of the groom was very dressed up in a polka-dotted dress. I remarked to her, “you have on a lovely dress.” A big smile came to her face and she sweetly said, “Yes, I know!”

I thought of Delia’s angel, “Sweetness.” When we have a “little faith in angels” we catch glimpses of the joy and happiness which surrounds us. There are honeycombs all around us!

From Thursday evening through noon on Saturday several members of Bethany and the pastoral staff were at a Lenten retreat in the mountains. It was a sweet time of caring conversations, service, rituals and traditions and devotions. It is always great when the people of God gather together to pray, sing and study scripture. I had written my devos in advance and through the wonders of technology was able to time their release through Cynthia’s able and caring hands. We were “fasting” from news media because of intent as well as location. In other words we didn’t receive much info about the tsunami and subsequent tragic consequences, specifically the loss of life, significant property damage and emotional trauma.

There are lots of ways to respond in addition to offering prayers and caring thoughts. Lots of agencies are ready, willing and able to accept gifts of financial relief. I made a gift on Sunday through the ELCA Disaster Response. It felt like a “sweet” thing to do.A link is provided for your convenience.

https://community.elca.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=631



Our good friends at Metro CareRing (a local food pantry) have posted the following sign in the area where clients are able to select food. This food pantry helps the working poor. I often say this wonderful "place is for people for whom the month is 3-5 days too long." I am so happy that clients are able to choose something sweet!

I so enjoy Peter singing the words, “sweet nothing.” At one point in the song he confesses “all I want tonight is something to believe in.” Well, I know the words from the Book of Proverbs (which I like to call the “Twitter of the Bible”) are true and something we can all believe in:

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body,”
(Proverbs 16:24)



Today you can be that angels of “Sweetness” as you say pleasant words. You can make someone happy. And as the young folks like to say, “SWEET!”

rtg

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Forward with Compassion 031311 First Sunday in Lent

H2o devos fia 031311 Spring Forward with Compassion
First Sunday in Lent
March 13, 2011




“You say that love songs bring you down
Can't depend anything
But I've seen a silver bird leave the ground
Rising high on a borrowed wing
Chorus
Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me”


I suppose we should make a little sign that reads, “It’s about compassion!” So much of what comes to us through various media reveals what seems to me is a lack of compassion. In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 4:1-11 we see and hear how Jesus resisted temptation. Jesus has compassion for us because as the writer of Hebrews noted,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15)
I love the last line of the gospel lesson for today, “11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.”

I simple love the picture by Tissot, which is titled in French (Jésus assisté par les anges). Just imagine the cosmic compassion which was exhibited for Jesus. Just imagine the cosmic compassion which is exhibited for you and for me




I am currently reading a book by Karen Armstrong, 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life.
In 2008 she won a TED prize
www.ted.com/talks/karen_armstrong_makes_her_ted_prize_wish_the_charter_for_ compassion.html
which she has launched into a Charter for Compassion

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_for_Compassion
The charter calls us to note, “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious,
ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be
treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of
our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another
there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating
everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.”

St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians asked, (I Cor. 3) “ 16Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” This is just simply amazing stuff here. Think of that, God’s Spirit dwells in you and in me.
There’s really nothing else to say except, “Go in peace, serve the Lord.” “Thanks be to God.”

Compassion, it’s the heart of the matter.
Peace,
rtg

Brooklyn Museum: Jesus Ministered to by Angels (Jésus assisté par les anges)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Adventure of Lent 031209 FAITH in Angels

H2o devos fia 031211 The Adventure of Lent
Saturday



“Open up that secret smile
Filled with pieces of a dream
Let's take a chance on a moonlit while
While there's still time to believe”


A quick look at “Adventure” reveals a dipstick running down the center of her body. Delia told me that a gentleman was walking down their street and found the dipstick on the street. He knocked on the door at the Stewart house and inquired if it was their dipstick. Delia’s husband, Brent indicated that all their dipsticks were present and accounted for. So, the man asked Brent to dispose of the dipstick. It ended up in a pile of stuff in the garage. Delia was inspired to attach it to “Adventure.” Lent is a time to make sure that our “dipstick” is present and accounted for. Maybe we need as Peter suggests to see if we are a “quart low” on dreams.

Peter sings about a mosaic of a smile “filled with pieces of a dream.” It stands to make sense that if smiles are “filled with pieces of a dream” then maybe frowns are filled with pieces of nightmares. I believe I read somewhere that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Wow, it is harder work to be sad than to be happy.
Peter is right in calling us to take “a chance.” Taking a chance is an exercise in faith. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”( Hebrews 11:1) In the favorite board game MONOPOLY

there are “chance” cards. Perhaps in the “game of life” we should present one another with “Faith” cards. At those crossroads or junctions in our lives when we need to make a difficult decision how cool it would be to have some person share a “Faith” card. Having that card in hand or on one’s heart just might make the difference between a frown or a smile.
The wings of “Adventure” are made from a license plate. License plates indicate where a vehicle is from but probably aren’t such a good indicator of where one is going. As Peter suggests
“Open up that secret smile
Filled with pieces of a dream
Let's take a chance on a moonlit while
While there's still time to believe”

Be sure your dreams are up to the recommended level of the manufacturer (i.e GOD).
Rtg

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Attitude of Gratitude" h20devos fia 031111

H2o devos fia 031111 Attitude of Gratitude
Friday




“Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me”

www.petermayer.com/songs/faith-in-angels





I am so grateful that Peter has invited us to be on the alert for angels. I am thankful that he encourages us to have faith in order that we might see. The wings of “Gratitude” by Delia have a positive effect on me. I see them as a smile across the sky.

(part of this devo first appeared in a sermon on 1/16/2011 Epiphany 2a)

For the past fifteen years or so, I have gone on a monthly basis to a spiritual director. I’ve had three during that time, one in St. Louis, one in Minneapolis and one here in Colorado. All three have been Roman Catholics, two of them being Jesuit priests and one a Catholic lay woman. It was right before Christmas that I was visiting in a session. Basically these times are like being with a Spiritual/prayer coach- asking, praying, talking about “where is God moving in your life?” “How or what does Jesus really want from me or to be?” We were talking and then Father Vince said, “you know I’ve started writing down each night before I go to sleep what I am thankful for.”
It seemed so simple, but here was this faithful and faith-filled child of God all energized about having an attitude of gratitude.

St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth,
“2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,”
1 Corinthians 1

Now as you read a little more in Corinthians one realizes that the sisters and brothers in the community in that particular port city had a tendency to treat life more like Mardi Gras in New Orleans than some kind of Spiritual and Sacred Disneyland. As one hears about their problems, conflicts and arguments one senses that the “good old days” were just like “these days” in that sin, egos and misunderstandings often find their way into daily life. But, St. Paul states 4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.

My conversation with Father Vince led me to several books by Robert Emmons. One in particular called Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier provides lots of practical examples and advice on how to be thankful and consequently end up being happier.

His work connected with the more popular work of a man by the name of
John Kralik who over the course of a year wrote 365 thank you notes.

www.npr.org/2010/12/26/132263637/perfect-thank-you-notes-heartfelt-and-handwritten

www.365thankyounotes.com/media.php

So, that leads me to suggest to you that you think of yourself as a “thank you note.” Just imagine how your attitude of gratitude can change how people see their situations. Secondly, I’d like for you to take time today and write a “thank you note” from God’s perspective. This note can be a list of what God is thankful for in YOU!
Thirdly, take time to write another “thank you note.” This time the list is what or WHO you are thankful for.

Of course, you can send emails or text folks with a quick note indicating that you are thankful for them. If you’re shy (and who isn’t at some point?) tell them a pastor friend of yours has asked you to participate in this particular Lenten activity. Last, but not least, like St. Paul, you can say, “4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.”
Here’s the wild, holy, wonderful thing. The word for “giving thanks” that St. Paul used is
“eucharistw.” It is that “good gifting” that happens when the people of God, the sheep of God’s pasture gather around the table of the Lord and celebrate the perfect Passover Lamb of God.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” Colossians 3:16

We all have attitudes! Blessings to you this day so that you might have an attitude of Gratitude.

rtg

Thursday, March 10, 2011

h2o devos FIA "Good + Plennty"

H2o devos fia 031011 Good & Plenty
Thursday




“Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me”

www.petermayer.com/songs/faith-in-angels

I have to laugh each time I look at Delia’s creation called “Plentitude.” There as wings are keys from an old cash register. “Plentitude” represents an attitude born out of abundance. I suppose “Plentitude” probably has an evil twin named “Scarcitude” who was born out of a fear of not ever having enough. Perhaps the wings of “Scarcitude” would be some kind of vacuum hose (inhaling and sucking up everything in one’s way).

St. Paul wrote,
“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.” Phil 4:12
Yesterday I wrote about balance. Here St. Paul seems to be sharing an attitude of “Plentitude.” It is almost a sense of Holy “whatevers”. Whatever the situation, be it full or empty there is a sense that it is going to be alright.

Peter sings,
“Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me”

So, here is an invitation to “have a little faith.” This “little faith in angels” produces a positive net effect with big dividends. Namely one’s vision increases so that can make a leap of faith in believing in another and in one’s own self.

Our congregation's theme this year is "Blessed to be a Blessing." Our Lenten journey for worship on Sundays and Wednesdays will focus on the following:
• The Blessing of Fasting
• The Blessing of Solitude
• The Blessing of Community
• The Blessing of being Unplugged
• The Blessing of being Plugged in
• The Blessing of Feasting

Each week we will attempt to figure out what it means to own that week’s particular blessings.



The first week of Lent is about the blessing of fasting. Initially, when we hear the word “fasting” we normally think of doing without food. We will talk about this in a few days. But, today, I’d like for you to gain a sense of fasting from Christina Rees who has written In her book, Feast + Fast-Food for Lent and Easter (pg. 53-54) the following things to “fast” from or simply give up during Lent:
Procrastination
Apathy
Envy
Jealousy
Greed
Laziness
Indifference
Chocolate
Sugar
Chips
Crisps
Alcohol
Sweets
Meat
Processed food
Criticizing
Negative thoughts
Cynicism
Worry
Being miserable
Holding grudges
Feelings of revenge
Feeling like a victim
Putting yourself down
Judging yourself
Judging others
Gossiping
Making excuses
Blaming others
Shopping for things you don’t need
Watching TV
Listening to the radio
Reading newspapers
Going on the internet

The first seven sound very much like the SEVEN DEADLY Sins.

Today is a time to focus on being “good” and realizing the “plenty” that most of us have.
Celebrate the gift of “Plentitude” today.

Peace,
rtg

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Sent, Grow! Ash Wednesday 030911

H2o devos fia 030911 On Your Mark, Get Sent, Grow!
Ash Wednesday
March 9, 2011

“Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me”




“Happy Lent.” Yes, that’s right, I said “Happy Lent.” Forty days, not counting Sundays until we celebrate Easter. I love the season of Lent. It is a time more about preparation than celebration. So, it is fitting to remind you and me to gather together “on your mark, get sent and grow.” I often refer to Lent as “Spring training for Christians.” It is a time to stretch those spiritual muscles. A season to take on something new and perhaps give up something that isn’t so good for one’s health, ( be it spiritual, mental or physical). The mark is made out of ashes (burned up Palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday). The mark is of the cross. It is made on our forehead as a reminder, a reality check of mortality. The pastor says, “you are dust and to dust you shall return.” In other words “we are terminal.”

And since we know that our time is limited, then we are to be about things that are meaningful, authentic and life giving. That’s what it means to “get sent.” Lent is about the journey from ashes to alleluias. Lent is a season of holy motion and sanctified emotion. Lent is moving from death to new life and then ultimately life eternal.

This movement calls us to step out of our spiritual sleepiness and get growing.
Lent is the time of year where we get hints and promises of spring as plants and trees burst forth with green shoots of joy. We too, join this rejuvenation and blossom.

Peter invites us to “have a little faith in angels.” Each day during this holy season we will reflect on the words of Peter’s songs and also reflect on an angel designed by Delia Stewart. Today’s angel is named Harmony.

Lent is the time to work on Harmony. As Peter sings in the song by that title,
www.petermayer.com/songs/harmony

“it doesn't really matter if it's yours or if it's mine
It's the same amount of distance taken one step at a time”

We all have relationships and situations that lack harmony. Lent is a time to work on that.

My colleague, Pastor Ruth An will invite the worshippers at our services to the discipline of Lent--self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love.

It seems to me that today is the right time and place to increase one’s harmony and balance by taking seriously self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love.

I’ve included the entire “invitation to Lent” in case you want to keep it in a place that you can refer to over the next forty days.

INVITATION TO LENT
The assembly is seated. The presiding minister may invite the assembly into the discipline of Lent, using these or similar words.

Friends in Christ, today with the whole church we enter the time of remembering Jesus' passover from death to life, and our life in Christ is renewed.

We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and for God's mercy. We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent--self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love--strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament. Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus' death and resurrection.
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship)

On Your Mark, Get Sent, Grow!
rtg

Faith in Angels
Open up that secret smile
The one you never let me see
Give me more than a moonlit while
That we've forgotten to believe
You say that love songs bring you down
Can't depend anything
But I've seen a silver bird leave the ground
Rising high on a borrowed wing
Chorus
Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me
Ask me how the sun crosses the sky
And the wind can bend any tree
And I'll ask you how a love can survive
If we don't believe what we can't see
Chorus
We all were born beneath a troubled sky
You've been waiting on the wings to carry you
But what you dream you to got to live
The love you want you got to give
Open up that secret smile
Filled with pieces of a dream
Let's take a chance on a moonlit while
While there's still time to believe

By Roger Guth & Peter Mayer