Greetings from Peter Mayer

Sunday, April 8, 2012

h2odevos encores 040812 A Light Comes to the Darkness

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

We heard the words earlier last evening at the Easter Vigil, "the Light of Christ" and we responded, "Thanks be to God." Those eight words tell the story, reveal the glory and give us the peace that passes all human understanding.

Like Mary Magdalene we started out on the first day of the week, while it was still dark.  We came to this place, gathered around the fire, mindful of the ashes of our past, the ashes of family, friends, parishioners who have been interred and the bodies which have been laid to rest since last year's Easter Vigil. The imposing words of Ash Wednesday still swirl in our consciousness, our hearts and minds, "You are dust and to dust you shall return."

But on this Holy Easter Vigil, there is a new diagnosis and prognosis:

"When we were baptized in Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD)

We come in the dark, but we don't stay in the dark.
Our friend Peter Mayer has written a song in which he sings,
"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 light comes to the darkness. It might be the kind of darkness that exists because there is a lack of light. It might be the kind of darkness that comes when loneliness and depression flow over one like the waves of the sea.  It might be the darkness of death and the residual grief that exists far longer than most people are willing to acknowledge and recognize.

Mary Magdalene was in the darkness. She couldn't see because her heart was broken, her dreams were shattered, her hope was lost. But, the good news is that Jesus came to her as she was wandering and wondering around in the dark.

15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?"

In an interesting case of mistaken identity, she thinks Jesus is the "gardener." I've always thought that to be such a funny/interesting line, but maybe she is more accurate than she knows. For earlier in this gospel Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing," (John 15:5).
Despite the darkness, the cloudiness, the fog of grief that she is wrapped in, the LIGHT shines in the darkness, the LIGHT no darkness can overcome.

Jesus simply calls her by name, "Mary." And then she says, "Rabbouni," which means "my teacher." She then takes off and has perhaps the shortest Easter sermon on record, "I have seen the Lord." Five simple words of authentic testimony. "I HAVE SEEN THE LORD." She doesn't say, "I've thought about the Lord." But, "I've SEEN the Lord."

The LIGHT SHINES in the darkness; it makes us whole.

God bless you and let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Christ is Risen. Christ is RISEN INDEED!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

h2odevos encores 040712 Coming Spring

"The heavy load that I carry
My treasure and my loss
I weary and I fall, who will hold me?

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

Patient in winter's sting
Restless as coming spring
Oh...mighty this love
Oh...mighty this love"

Mighty this Love by Peter Mayer

We left the church in darkness last night with the words echoing in our hearts, "It is finished."

There are pictures from the BBC which review how Christians around the world observed Good Friday.  (Note: Some of them are quite graphic -- parental review is important.)  Click HERE.

I love the line, "longer than shadows...closer than emptiness." There are times of shadows and emptiness. As we go about our routines today on this Holy Saturday, it is quite natural to feel a variety of feelings. There is the reality of being "stung" by death. Maybe you have recently gone through an experience where you had a loved one die. Or perhaps someone close to you is currently in the process of dying (in actuality, all of us qualify for that particular status -- some of us are just more cognizant of it than others).

My heart and soul are comforted by the words of St. Paul that come into the shadows and emptiness of Holy Saturday:

"What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
'For your sake we are being killed all day long;
   we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.' 
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-38)

The good news is "nothing can separate us from God's love!"

If you have some free time on your hands today (and probably also some Easter egg dye on your hands), check out the following link:

Until tomorrow,

Friday, April 6, 2012

h2odevos encores 040612 Cruzando

"Tears of sadness for the hands that kill
Tears of joy when life is born
Hear the song of freedom and my sails are filled
In a rusty nail a cross and a temple curtain torn"
Loose in the World by Peter Mayer and  Jim Mayer

Cruzando is a Spanish word for "crossing." There are lots of "crossings" which take place in our lives. Some of them are obvious and quite noticeable and others are more subtle, secret and also sacred. Last night, after the Maundy Thursday service it was quite interesting to see the full moon which graced the sky. I thought to myself how remarkable it is as we celebrate God's love being "poured out" that the sky was full of light.

"I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
   it is melted within my breast; 
15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
   you lay me in the dust of death." (Psalm 22:14-15)

Today is Good Friday. Someone might ask, "Why do you call it Good?" Most likely it was called at one time "God's Friday." And while all days belong to God, it is most appropriate to remember on this day how God gave his son, his beloved son for the sake of the world.

Throughout these days of Lent we've spent a fair amount of time thinking, praying, talking and reflecting on water. On Easter Sunday, we'll rejoice in the waters that are "stirred up" by God's Spirit. But, today we acknowledge the reality of thirst. We hear about the thirst Jesus had. We remember people like the woman at the well who was thirsty, physically and spiritually for Living Water. We pray for people who need clean water to drink, to cook and to wash. We know that giving a cup of water to another is the same as giving it to Jesus.

"After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), 'I am thirsty.' 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:28-30)

Lucas Cranach was a contemporary of Martin Luther. He painted several scenes of the crucifixion. You can check one HERE.

"This love is... strong enough to be weak
Brave enough to speak
These arms are longer than we can believe
Kind enough to lift you off your knees
Oh...mighty this love
Oh...mighty this love"
Mighty This Love by Peter Mayer

See you at the crossroads,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

h2odevos encores 040512 The Real Meal Deal

"Pass it on
Break the bread, lift the cup
Pass it on
The broken will be lifted up

Every gift grand and lowly
Every purpose great and small
At this feast they are made holy
By your name we have been called
By your name we have been called

From a raindrop to a river
From one word into a song
Source of all gifts, Friend and Forgiver
Bring us together, to pass it on"

Pass It On by Peter Mayer

It's so basic. A little bit of bread and a little bit of wine coupled with the promise and invitation, "given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of this in remembrance of me."

The meal of promise as Peter sings, "the broken will be lifted up."  This, my friends, is the real meal deal, given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.

Today Christians all over the world will follow the call, "It's time to eat." And as we gather we bring all the things that are us. We bring our gifts, and we bring our debts. We bring our fears, and we bring our hopes. We bring our memories which can be full of blessings and joy or which need to be healed, lifted up and left at the feet of Jesus. We bring our futures, those roads and journeys yet to be taken, and ask for blessing. We bring our present tenses and tensions (who we are right now) and what we quietly wish for  in our hearts and minds.

The Psalmist reminds us, "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD," (Psalm 116).

It is the miracle of this meal that  Jesus who we invite to be our guest (in what we often call the common table prayer) turns the tables on us (as he always does) and comes not only as guest, but becomes the host, in fact the very feast of victory himself.  He in turn calls us by name and gives us the bread of life, the cup of salvation.

"From a raindrop to a river
From one word into a song
Source of all gifts, Friend and Forgiver
Bring us together, to pass it on"

On this day, Jesus said, " I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." (John 13:34) I've included the text in Latin so you can see the words, "mandatum novum," a new commandment, a new mandate.

34    mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem

This "commandment day" becomes "Maundy" Thursday. It seems to me the "real meal deal" calls us to transform the other days of the week as well--Maundy Friday, Maundy Saturday, Maundy Sunday, Maundy Monday (hey, maybe that's what the Mommas and Papas were singing about), Maundy Tuesday and Maundy Wednesday.

Pass it on,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

h2odevos encores 040412 Twist and Shout

“Every gift grand and lowly
Every purpose great and small
At this feast they are made holy
By your name you have been called
By your name you have been called”

Pass It On by Peter Mayer, Patricia O’Reilly

I love the season of Lent. I know some of you may think that’s weird, but I do love Lent. It’s all about preparation, getting ready and anticipating Easter Sunday and seven weeks of Easter. Pretzels have a connection to Lent. I encourage you to visit the following website for

When I lived in St. Louis, I usually made a weekly pilgrimage to Gus’ Pretzels. During Lent, I would visit a couple of times per week. Whenever, I was down in the dumps or feeling blue, I’d stop by to see Gus (and also have a pretzel or two). I can’t tell you how much I wish or think church should be like Gus’ Pretzels. A visit there is welcoming, it is nutritious and social. You could go to Gus’ in a bad mood and leave feeling happy and hopeful.

As Peter sings, “at this feast they are made holy.”

I’ve written an Ode to Pretzels and want to share it with you.
Gus is a good man I know
He makes money twistin’ dough
Flour, water, salt and yeast
It’s a salubrious feast.

Hand-twisted for many a year
Tastes good with water or beer
They announce the season of Lent
You can get three for 1 dollar spent

In the shape of the Trinity
Yet still connected for unity
Father, Son & Holy Ghost
Raise your stein to make a toast

Pretzels are quite a work of art
Easy to make from the start
Mix ‘em up in your favorite bowl
You and friends will be thankful

Words by RTG (a polka tune is being composed to go with the words)

Twist & Shout for Joy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

h2odevos encores 040312 Be a Rainbow

“Who’s gonna light my days when winter comes 
Keep me shinin’ when I got no sun 
Pick me up when I come undone 
That’s my rainbow

Haven’t seen you in quite a while 
I miss the flair of your impulsive style 
Out of the blue into a smile 
That’s my rainbow

Who’s gonna make me lost my head 
Spread my wings and fly instead 
Waiting just around the bend on 
Good days and life’s hazy weather

When all my words are on their knees 
You laugh in Latin blink in Japanese 
Paint my gray with blue and green 
That’s my rainbow

When I believe I’ve lost my song 
And chances fade as time moves on 
Right as rain you prove me wrong 

That’s my rainbow 
That’s my rainbow 
That’s my . . . rainbow”

My Rainbow by Peter Mayer and Jim Mayer

Earlier this season, I wrote about the rainbow being a sign of the promise of God (Genesis 9) with Noah and all the living creatures of the earth. As we head into the home stretch of Lent, as March Madness culminates tonight in the NCAA finals, as we just passed Palm/Passion Sunday with its own version of  “march madness”  I thought it would be appropriate to encourage each one of us to be someone’s rainbow today.

Peter sketches it out in lovely antiphonal form:

Pick me up when I come undone 
That’s my rainbow

Out of the blue into a smile 
That’s my rainbow

Paint my gray with blue and green 
That’s my rainbow

Right as rain you prove me wrong 
That’s my rainbow

I’m not sure what the weather report is in your neighborhood. But, whether it is raining or not, I hope you can report that you are someone’s rainbow today.


Monday, April 2, 2012

h2odevos encores 040212 Donde esta?

“The journey may take you 
     through roads long and weary
May lead you through nights long and cold
But lovers are dreamers healing believers
You can move mountains 
     by singing a song of your soul”
Love is Born Anew by Peter Mayer

A few years ago I was driving down the road when I saw a sign indicating that I was half way between the Equator and the North Pole. It was a very comforting message because on that particular day I was feeling somewhat “boxed-in.” Maybe you know that location, between a rock and a hard place. In other words, I was feeling “trapped.” And so to receive a sign that indicated to me that at that very moment I could go “North” or I could go “South” was very liberating.  (for more info on the 45th parallel click here)

And so, the question for you today is “donde esta?” where are you? Perhaps you know exactly where you are in terms of latitude and longitude. But, “where are you” this [Lent]?  Is it a place or space that you want to be? Are you feeling “boxed-in” or trapped? Or have you come to a point on your journey that is really good for you right now? Maybe after being on some shaky ground you find yourself with a firm foundation under your feet. Perhaps you have finally arrived at a particular spot after journeying for so long.

Peter sings,
“The journey may take you through roads long and weary
May lead you through nights long and cold.”

My hunch is that you know his words to be authentic and true. My hope is that you have also experienced the following words of Jesus to be authentic and true,

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’, it will be done. 22Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21)

Peter’s words echo that promise,
“But lovers are dreamers healing believers
You can move mountains by singing a song of your soul”

Way back in the Book of Genesis when Adam and Eve found themselves ashamed and naked they heard the sound of God walking in the garden. God asked, “where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).  The Good News is that no matter where we are, God is still walking around looking for us and calling us.

Thanks be to God, I think we are more than halfway there.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

h2odevos encores 040112 In the Silence, In the Singing

"In the silence, In the singing
Oh Lord we gather now to journey on
Send forth Your Word that sets our feet to dancing
Captures all creation in a love song
You can hear it in the gentle of the morning
In the mighty wind blowing on the sea
It will be waiting when your heart has broken
Will be there in the sound of victory"

We Are Changed  by Peter Mayer

We were in Jordan looking over at Jerusalem. The palm tree caught my eye while we were at Mt. Nebo. It's where Moses got to see the Promised Land, but that was as far as he was able to go. After all he went through, slavery, Red Sea, disappointments and frustrations, wandering and wondering around for forty years. He got close, but no "cigar."

Today we begin our trek through the holiest of all weeks. One of the definitions which makes a great deal of sense to me regarding the word "holy" comes from the Hebrew word for "holy" namely, KADOSH. The Hebrew understanding of the word "holy" means to be set apart, different, peculiar, one might even say, "weird." Now, any of you who I officiated at your wedding or if you were a guest at a wedding in which I spoke, know that I often refer to what the couple is doing as being "holy, unconditional and social." I talk about how when two people "set themselves" apart for each other, that is HOLY. How when they promise to love without "if's and thens," that it is unconditional. And because they've invited guests to the service it is social, meaning "incarnational," the WORD becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

If you have ever seen the fabulous movie "Babette's Feast," you probably remember the quote "righteousness and peace will kiss each other." Actually the full quote from Psalm 85:10 goes like:

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

You will see that happen as you walk along  "In the silence, In the singing."

Listen during the silence and sing out as the songs and hymns of praise take us from the streets of Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, out to the Garden, to Calvary, beneath the cross of Jesus and in the heartache and heartbreak of waiting for Easter.

Oh Lord we gather now to journey on.

Everyone loves a parade. I hope you can find one today, and if you do, join it and wave your palm branches high.

May this prayer be on your lips:  "Send forth Your Word that sets our feet to dancing"

And you'll see it, feel it and hear it.  "Captures all creation in a love song"