Greetings from Peter Mayer

Saturday, March 31, 2012

h2odevos encores 033112 Spiritual Spelunking

"When morning sun brings the dawn, 
Love light my way
Lead me on as world turns 'round 
and night enfolds the day
Through spinning season, reeling change, 
Lord light my way
Each one in rhythm 
with the song of life you did create
Surprised us with grace
Beside us you stay
Recognized us for who we are and whose we are by name"

Light My Way by Peter Mayer & Patricia O'Reilly

I don't know very much about spelunking. I happened to be reading an article the other day about cenotes which mentioned spelunkers. As I did a little reading about the topic, it seems that among some people there is a distinction between  "cavers" and "spelunkers."

The information I read indicated that "cavers" are experienced, trained explorers of caves (who also have the right clothes, equipment and abilities). Whereas, in the mind of some "cavers,"  "spelunkers" are the amateurs that "cavers" have to rescue from time to time. It might be fair to suggest that on a continuum of skill, "spelunkers" are at one end, and "cavers" are at another end. (If I have offended any "spelunkers" or "cavers," you can put me in a virtual "cenote.") Okay, I've used that word twice already today. As of last week, I don't believe I had ever seen it or even heard it spoken. But, you can check it out.

Anyway, I believe Lent is a time to do some "spiritual spelunking." It's a time to check out "caves" and what lies beneath the surface of things. Perhaps you've done some of this before in individual or group therapy. Maybe you have stood at the "entrance" of a cave, but have been too fearful and consequently immobilized or paralyzed to venture any farther. Whether or not you have entered into the cave, you've already had a good start.

Peter graciously sings, "Love light my way."  I really like that prayer because that is the God's honest truth, love illuminates the journey. Peter also sings in Ever Walk with Me Lord,  "Before I can come before You, You come to me."

So, whether you are a "caver" experienced in this sort of thing, or a "spelunker" in the eyes and mind of others (and maybe even yourself), today is a good day to let the light guide you on your way among some of those areas beneath the surface.

I firmly believe you'll "be surprised by grace."

Happy Spiritual Spelunking!

Friday, March 30, 2012

h2odevos encores 033012 The Promise of Today

"We gather round as family to send you on your way
That you greet each tomorrow with the
Promise of today
Whatever road your hearts may find
Share your gifts that they may shine
The handiwork of God's design
Formed in the hands of love"
The Hands of Love by Peter Mayer

[Six] years ago, Sue Ann and I stopped in at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam during a layover on our way to Jordan. The museum was more than I could have hoped for. I am a big Van Gogh fan. For years I've read his letters to his brother Theo. For years I've studied books about his life, work, problems, faith and struggles. There were many paintings that caught my eye on that day at the museum. Here is a link to one:  THE RAISING of LAZARUS.

Van Gogh painted this while he was in the hospital. It is probably diplomatic to say that Van Gogh was either so far ahead of everyone else that coping with the issues of daily life often caught up with him as he dealt with his past and future. Who knows what, if any, diagnosis he would have today if he would have been able to be "worked" up for a full physiological and psychiatric consult.

Many of you responded to the great picture of my grandfather and his big fish. A couple of dear family members responded to me that the reason why our grandfather was in Florida in 1938 is that he had experienced a nervous breakdown while serving as a parish pastor.  This news didn't really come as a shock or surprise to me because I had caught or heard some information that were like "pieces of a puzzle," but the whole picture was never revealed to me. In my family of origin it just "wasn't something we talked about."

Peter sings,
"We gather round as family to send you on
your way
That you greet each tomorrow with the
Promise of today"

What a lovely image, isn't it?
To welcome tomorrow with the "promise of today."

For Lazarus, or more appropriately for Martha and Mary, it seemed like the end. And yet, as Jesus reminds us again and again, "It ain't over until it's over and then...because of Jesus, it's a NEW BEGINNING."

That's a promise of today, for tomorrow and even for yesterday.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

h2odevos encores 032912 Water Proof

"Waterfall drink your fill
Washing over you it spills
Night and day it's runnin' wild
We're born to be a river child

Tossed about like a toy
From the badlands to good soil
We could've never bargained for
This mighty ride of joy

This is Love that's been spilled
This is grace that has been willed
Every empty heart be filled
Waterfall, waterfall"

Waterfall by Peter Mayer
 You can listen to this tune by clicking HERE.

I asked Peter one day where his inspiration for this lovely song came from. He shared with me that it came from a couple of sources, but primarily Isaiah 43: 1-6.

But now thus says the LORD,
      he who created you, O Jacob,
      he who formed you, O Israel:
      Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
      I have called you by name, you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
      and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
      when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
      and the flame shall not consume you.
3For I am the LORD your God,
      the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
      I give Egypt as your ransom,
      Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4Because you are precious in my sight,
      and honored, and I love you,
      I give people in return for you,
      nations in exchange for your life.
5Do not fear, for I am with you;
      I will bring your offspring from the east,
      and from the west I will gather you;
6I will say to the north, "Give them up,"
      and to the south, "Do not withhold;
      bring my sons from far away
      and my daughters from the end of the earth

He also said, "The waterfall meant to me the unending grace that flows from God to us and all creation; the gift of life, the gift of each other, the gift of God's word and life lived out in the way of Jesus, but in that gift we are given there is not an absence of pain and trial, and of challenge. In fact, through those experiences, mirrored in Jesus' life and passion, we grow to know our deeper connection to the arms that save us, that renew us."

WOW! I say, "preach it, Peter!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

h2odevos encores 032812 Bottled Water

“Only You can stand beside me 
through all my thoughts and deeds
You raised the mighty Redwood from the seed
Only You formed the mountains that stretch to the sky
Cover them with moonlight tonight

I know it in my heart to be true
The answer to me is only You

The beauty… that shines.. from a face
…touches you…touches me… vision of grace
The hand.. that leads….to the 
place of peace and understanding
Touches… you.. touches me….”
Only You  by Jim Mayer and Peter Mayer

Over the past four years, I have been very conscious and intentional about drinking enough water per day. I subscribe to the idea that one should drink 8 glasses of water per day. Now just as soon as I say that, I know there are some folks who think that is too much water to drink. Alright, I affirm your right to feel that way. However, I know what has worked for me, so if 8 isn’t the right number for you, plug in whatever number you want.

I have also found that if one drinks 8 or more glasses of water per day, one will just about automatically increase one’s physical activity (if nothing more than making additional trips to the water closet (as they like to call it in some European countries).

Bottled water is big business in the world. According to the Earth Policy Institute, “The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion liters in 2004, or approximately one 8-ounce glass per person every day.”

I like to drink bottled water. I don’t know if it is inherently “better” that tap water, but I do know that I am attracted to artistically designed bottles. Of course, there are issues of recycling and utilization of resources which flow to the production, transportation and consumption of this product.

You might be surprised to realize or know that “bottled” water is in the Bible.  Yes, that’s true, it’s right there is Psalm 33:6-:7. Check it out:

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
   and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
   he put the deeps in storehouses.”

Talk about your intelligent design.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

h2odevos encores 032712 Crossroads

"A painted sky is fading, 
come and take my hand
For all the roads you travel 
only this one will stand
Pick up what is precious
 make light your load

'Cause whistle trains keep rollin'
Airplanes will fly
Anchor chains keep rising we must

Sail on to the Golden light
Where the rusty red horizon is falling
The do's of the day surrender to the night
And they all come together in the golden light

Set these moments in your heat however great or small
The first rose of summer the last leaf to fall
Keep on singing that first son the one that claims you after all"

Golden Light by Peter Mayer and Jay Oliver

I have a green backpack that a colleague has assessed by stating, "You could live for a week or two with all that stuff you have in there." It's probably true. I have my laptop in there along with other necessary electrical devices, palm pilot, cell phone, ipod, cd player (just for those songs that haven't made it onto the ipod), an extension cord and backup batteries. Then I have provisions -- dried fruit, fresh fruit, almonds, books, water and a couple of energy bars. Other secret compartments contain an emergency pair of underwear (I know, TMI-too much information), change, some vitamins and basic guy stuff.

Yesterday I was going through security at LAX on my way to Seattle. I was in a hurry (what else is new?), and I had checked a bag. So I just had my backpack and myself. I know the drill, the routine quite well. I had taken off my shoes, my coat and had placed my laptop in those grey bins. My green backpack went through, and the TSA personnel examined it. I heard him say those fateful words, "bag check." So, the backpack  was taken to the end of the area and examined. After what appeared to be a rather long time, the backpack was sent back through the machine. Once again the words were uttered, "bag check." And we went through the process again. Now, I am not the most patient person of all time, but I  remained pretty cool. (I actually did, and if this wasn't Lent, I'd really be quite proud of myself, but I'm working on being humble these days) So, the backpack went through the screening process again. This time another person came over and looked  through the x-ray screening process. She appeared to be a supervisor of sorts and came to me with the backpack and asked a question, "Do you have a cross in your backpack?" I remembered that I did indeed have a cross which I had worn a couple of Sundays earlier when I preached at Sue Ann's church. I nodded my head, pulled the cross out of the backpack and showed it to the person. She said, "The cross was the problem."
I gathered up all my stuff and proceeded rather quickly down to my gate.

Those words, "The cross was the problem," rang through my head for the next couple of hours. It made me think of what St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians:

"18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Each day we find ourselves experiencing crossroads. I think Peter's advice is very helpful as we attempt to live our lives:

For all the roads you travel only this one will stand
Pick up what is precious make light your load


Monday, March 26, 2012

h2odevos encores 032612 A Whale of a Tale

"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 wing

And you're Still In One Peace"
Still In One Peace by Peter Mayer

"Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1

I don't know if Peter is intentionally singing about Jonah ben Amittai (which literally means Jonah the Dove, Son of Truth) or not. But, I do know that Jonah along with some of us have at times in our lives tried to run from "the presence of the Lord." 

It's a curious thing, you know, for we crave that safe harbor, the place where there is smooth sailing. And yet, often we don't know what we got until it's gone. Sometimes it's gone because we fumble it away. At other times, it is taken from us by some tragic loss or unfathomable situation. Consequently, "the grip of fear holds us fast." It immobilizes our hands, our feet, our hearts and our heads. 

Jonah found himself "swallowed up" by a great fish. For three days and three nights, he sat in the "smelly belly" pondering lutefisk, also known as Lutheran sushi. My sense is that the heartbeat of the fish set a rhythm that was at the same time hypnotic and also quite grating. "Thought that I could dive deep enough to lose your hold on me."

I don't know if Peter is intentionally singing about The Runaway Bunny or not. But, I do know that the Runaway Bunny and Jonah along with some of us have at times in our lives tried to run from the "the presence of Love."

And so, if that description fits you or someone you know, then I hope the "Whale of a Tale" fish story will catch you. In fact, Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men and women. And in what is some kind of comedy or poetic justice, an early Christian symbol for Jesus was the Fish. The Greek word for  "fish" is an acronym:  IXTHUS - meaning, Jesus Christ God's Son Savior.