Greetings from Peter Mayer

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Easter 2013
March 31, 2013

There is a river of life all around us
It's our common ground, the gift we are given
Ocean and sky, the wild of the forest,
Were here long before us and meant for our children
We bring our differences, our hopes and faith, our fears
We'll build a home for love in this family
For the light that brought us here

In this blueprint for living
From the Word that touched the earth
Round this house we plant a Garden
God's grace for our rebirth
Lend your voice in celebration
Lend your hand in lifting up
This is the day of creation
Built on the cornerstone of Love

Blueprints by Peter Mayer

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.” Luke 24

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

“Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
Conjunction Junction, what's their function?
I got ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’,
They'll get you pretty far.

That's an additive, like ‘this and that’.
That's sort of the opposite,
‘Not this *but* that’.
And then there's "or":
O-R, when you have a choice like
‘This or that’.
‘And’, ‘but’, and "or",
Get you pretty far.
Music and Lyrics by Bob Dorough

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

We’ve gotten pretty far since we were last here together, from the empty altar area with just a bare, rough and rugged cross. Transformed now by all the flowers, music, people, hope, happiness and joy. For today, Easter Sunday is a new day, a new beginning, a new life.

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

Today on this holy, festival day, I want to share with you some theological and ecclesiastical grammar by talking about the word “but.” It is, as some of you know, a conjunction, which means it “joins” words together. Now, between the lesson from 1 Corinthians and the Gospel reading, the word “but” is used seven different times.  In each case it is conveying a truth, a reality, a part of the story that is different than what has gone before it.

St. Paul wrote,
19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

And our gospel lesson begins with the word, “but.” “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.”  Now, what preceded that verse is the end of chapter 23 which states, they went, meaning the women, back home to prepare spices. Then “on the Sabbath they rested according to the Commandment.”  “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.”  

But, when they went in they did not find the body
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
But, these words seemed to them an idle tale.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb.

Easter is a sacred conjunction. It joins us together. We are connected to each other in the risen body of Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

Look at the bulletin- all the names listed in honor and memory.

Psalm 30:5 
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

You see this lovely painting here. It’s hard not to be drawn in by the red from the crosses that goes to the now, empty tomb. And yet, there is more.
As you may know in honor of “all things being made new” our mentors and mentees on Wednesday nights painted with Cody Kuehl in order to experience “God through art.”
And so in all the paintings around the church, the students and mentees have a bit of themselves, just like you and I each have a part of our story in this larger, wondrous Easter Story.

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

N. T. Wright has said, “Easter is the birthday party for God’s new created world.”

And then we think about Jesus who was sent by God to die on the cross. The lovely words of John 3:16 come to mind,  16For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

And the Holy Spirit comes to us and “fires” us up to tell this story, again and again and again.
“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

Some of you may know that I write for which has a section called “Ask the Pastor.” Each week there is a new question put forward.
Here is one for April that I just responded to.

“It's evident that violations of the laws of nature do not occur in our universe. Christianity depends on the existence of events that violate those laws. How can an intelligent human being be a Christian?”

So, here’s my response.
We have a couple of men in our congregation, Mark and Tim, who according to medical science and the "laws" of nature should be dead. But, they aren't . They literally have come back from the dead. No research can describe how or why these men are still with us. I'm hearing not so much a question, but rather a statement of which you are most entitled to communicate.  BUT, the experience of the early Christian community was that they experienced the Risen Christ. This was so remarkable and amazing that it not only changed them, but all of us who wear and bear the sign of the cross. N. T. Wright has written, "Easter was the birthday of the new world God created."

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

Last but not least, as I always say, “baby makes all the difference.” I can’t help but think of a lovely Christmas hymn:

“Oh Holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to Us we pray,
Cast out our Sin and enter in
Be Born in us Today.”

“All things are being made new.” That’s the good news. So, when you hear otherwise, just say, “BUT.”

“Christ is Risen!”
“He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”

“Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.

And’, ‘but’, and "or",
Get you pretty far.


Creative Communications of St. Louis, MO is publishing our an Advent Devo entitled,

Drop them a note and let them know you want to be on their mailing list

Saturday, March 30, 2013


H2odevos p4p Lent 2013
Holy Saturday

“Welcome child into our family
Washed in water, reborn and free
A sign on your forehead and your heart
The cross that never will depart
Allelujah Allelujah
Allelujah come and sing

Stirrin’ up the water
Stirrin’ up my soul
A Light comes to the darkness
Come and make me whole
Oh Stir it up, stir it up, Oh Lord”

I’m making hot cross buns today. It’s something I started doing many years ago with our daughter Hannah Grace. There is something sweet and holy about the whole process.
Right now, I’ve got four different batches going. So, that will make about four dozen buns. It’s about a 2.5 hour process, but it’s worth every minute of it. As I mix up the recipe, I think and pray about the past two days. Going from the upper room, to the garden, to the courtyard, to the palaces of power and then to Calvary.

Here is a cool article about hot cross buns.

In order to mix the dough just right, I’ve got to get my hands into it. Having done this for so many years, I have a “feel” for when it’s just “right.” The aroma of the nutmeg, cinnamon and all spices make me think of the spices that the original “Spice Girls” took to the tomb. Right now the mix is in the process of rising. I’ve gotten over my impatience of wishing that it would simply “Mc-Rise.” But, you know, I don’t know that I’ve overcome my impatience for my own ability to “rise” above it all.

Peter’s song is what Easter is all about. Of course it’s about baptism, first communion, dying and rising, eating and drinking in remembrance of the ONE who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Our congregation recently made a baptism video with help of Tim Frakes. You might want to check out this seven-minute piece.

And while you’re at it, have a hot cross bun.


Friday, March 29, 2013

“Be” On that Friday we call “Good”

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 “Be”
On that Friday we call “Good”

"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"

Be Etc by Peter Mayer

Cody Kuehl has been our “artist in residence” on Wednesday nights during Lent as we have come to terms with the notion of “All Things Being Made New in Christ”- Experiencing God Through Art. During our Taize service last week he painted this picture which is called “Avarice and Apathy.” It was amazing to watch him paint this story out right in front of our very eyes.

Peter sings it so well,   
“Tears of sadness for the hands that kill
Tears of joy when life is born
Heard a bell ring freedom and my sails are filled
In a rusty nail a cross and a temple curtain torn


Oh Oh Oh Oh hear the news
Love is loose hey ey
Love is loose in the world
Oh Oh Oh Oh the universe is singing
Loose hey hey God is loose in the world”
Loose in the World  by Peter Mayer
Today is the Friday that we call “Good.” I’m sure you have your own traditions and ways to observe it. I’m asking you to remember and recall the “GOOD” in your life. That is to say, to be like Mary and ponder all these things in your heart. You’ve probably heard me say it or write it before that in my opinion, “Ponder” is a cross between Prayer in the upper room and the wonder of Easter Morning. And between that room and the empty tomb there is the CROSS. That’s why we call this Friday “GOOD.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Place at the Table

Maundy Thursday 2013

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 you have been called
By your name you have been called
"Pass It On" by Peter Mayer

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

I can remember my mother and grandmothers calling me for lunch or supper with the words, “Dinner’s ready, come and wash your hands.”

As long as I can remember, I was taught to pray this prayer before each and every meal. If you happen to know it, please join me in saying it.

“Come Lord Jesus be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed.” Amen

That later came to be known as the “Common Table Prayer.”  However, there is nothing “common” about it, is there?  I mean here we are inviting Jesus to be a guest at the table with us. And Jesus, as he always does, turns the tables on us. First, he comes as guest. Then he becomes the host. Ultimately Jesus is the very feast of victory. The gifts are blessed and received by us so that we might be a blessing to our world that is hungry for bread, hungry to know that Jesus is the Bread of life.

John Donne once wrote,

“He was the Word that Spake it
He took the Bread and Break it
And what the Word did Make it
I do believe and Take it”

That’s what today is all about.  There is wonder and mystery in Spaking it, Breaking it, Making it and Taking it. Just about all the action is on God’s part for our behalf. All we have to do is to receive. All we have to do is to “taste and see that the Lord is God.” All we have to do is hear the words, “give and shed FOR YOU, for the forgiveness of our sins.” All we have to do is to come, “Just as we are, without one plea.”

Gabriel Moran once wrote, “The Eucharist is the church at her best.” Ever since I heard those words, they’ve rung true with me. For as we gather around the table, as we eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. How can something so basic, so simple, so elementary be so very profound, meaningful and comprehensive.

During this time of year, Intern Russ, Pastor Paul, Parish Nurse Janet, Pastor Ruth Ann and myself make a very intentional effort to do as many home communions as we can. I believe we do that for, as Gabriel Moran said, “the Eucharist is the church at her best.” I think it’s also because we feel called and driven to find and make “a place at the table for everyone.”

So, as we go to memory loss centers, hospital rooms, apartments, nursing homes, rehab centers and homes, we are all connected to each other with the church on earth and the host of heaven. We join together, past, present and future as we proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection until he comes again.

This year, I’ve visited several people who have memory loss issues, one might even say dementia. As the conversation unfolds, their attention span decreases and sometimes it is confusing to say the least. But, when I get the bread and wine out of my case, as I say the Words of Institution, they begin to say the words with me. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer there is often a tear in their eye as well as mine and in the eye of a loved one in the room. “The Eucharist is the church at her best.”
Sometimes, it doesn’t take long for things to go back to the way they were before, but for that slice in time we celebrated Jesus coming to the table to be with us, blessing us, forgiving us, and giving us LIFE.

So we are here today in this holy place. I know that as we come to the table we bring our hurts, our hungers, our hopes and happiness. Today we don’t say dinner is ready, wash you hands, but rather, “dinner is ready, come and have your feet washed.”


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the Word

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 “In the Word”

"In the Word the walls will crumble down
And all are welcome to enter in
In the blood of Christ the great sacrifice
The withered branches bloom again
The withered branches bloom again"

Pass It On by Peter Mayer

My hope and intention this week is to dwell “in the Word.”
Each day we make and take a step closer to the cross.
As Peter sings,
“In the Word the walls will crumble down
And all are welcome to enter in.”

I know you are mindful of the “walls” in your world.
Some are of our own construction;  others have been placed there
out of fear, spite, shame and blame.

Today, I encourage you to spend some time in the Word.
If you don’t know where to begin or start, just turn to the Psalms.
Read a couple of them. I think you’ll be amazed at how timely and relevant they are
for you.

You might also want to wear a “hard hat” because as you dwell “in the Word,” the walls will come tumblin’ down.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In the Arms of Love

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 “In the Arms of Love”

Rest will follow labors, hope will answer fear
The harvest of our laughter for the seeds we sow in tears
We work, we worry, strive for faith, Lord light my way
And all the while we're in the arms of love we can't escape

Beside us to stay
Surprised us with grace
Recognized us for who we are and whose we are by name

Lord Light My Way- Peter Mayer

1"8For 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. 19For it is written,

'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'" 1 Corinthians 1:18

Today as I think about the cross of Jesus, what strikes me most is the "arms of love."
I see his arms and am grateful that they are wide open for the world.

I snapped the picture of Jesus on the cross at Worth Abbey. It is a Benedictine Monastery that was the focus of a BBC program called THE BIG SILENCE where 5 regular folks came and lived at the monastery (think of a cross between a monastery and an MTV reality show.)  Click here to learn more.

What it's all about, namely the tv show, the monastery, Lent, Holy Week, all of it, is the transformational love of Jesus. It's about the "arms of love."

Reaching out,

Monday, March 25, 2013


H2odevos p4p Lent 2013  “Passion”

Heaven help us all
If we should fall from Love
Heaven help us all
If we should fall from Love

I never really meant to hurt you before
Hard times get hard to make better
Can’t really fix it but we can’t ignore
One and one we were meant to be together

God only knows where would I be
God only knows where would I be I be I be

Heaven Help Us Now by Peter Mayer

We did the Stations of the Cross today as our meditation on Palm/Passion Sunday. The way we had them set up in the sanctuary was counter-clockwise. I encouraged the parishioners to think about “time-travel” and using the stations as portals or access points to get into the passion postcards from the life of Jesus.

After worship, I came home and took a nap, but then we went with some dear friends to see the movie, “Quartet.” I must tell you that it was a fabulous show which touched upon many of the same themes that we journeyed through with the stations. There was betrayal, change, confusion, forgiveness, passion, love and the amazing gift of music.

Peter’s song is a prayer that’s worth singing and saying every day this week,

“Heaven help us all
If we should fall from Love.”


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sacred Cafe

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 “Sacred Café”

"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

This week is the holiest of all weeks. I love the drama of it all. It begins with a parade and initially ends in a cemetery. Between the beginning and the ending (which is actually a new beginning), there is a trip to a garden, several palaces, a courtroom or two, a long journey to Golgotha (the first episode of Dead Man Walking) and an Easter evening stroll to Emmaus. Along the way there are stops at what I would call the "sacred café."
I was walking down a street in London when I saw the sign, "Sacred Café." In many ways due to its history and architecture, London is a city of churches. However, I don't know that any of them advertise as being a "sacred café" although many of the churches have places where they encourage the purchase of beverages and gathering. Yet, it is what places of worship all aspire to be, "sacred cafes."
Peter sings, "At this feast they are made holy." So, it is in the gathering, the eating and drinking, the blessing and the breaking, the forgiving and the sending that we catch glimpses and whiffs of what this holy week is all about.
Last summer in New Orleans I made a special pilgrimage with our congregation's youth and our chaperones to The Café Du Monde. The quote on the painting states, "It seemed like an ordinary day until I had coffee with Jesus at The Café Du Monde." Amen- that's what I'm talking about.
See you in the sacred café,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love-The Only Road

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013  “Love-the Only Road”

Save your strength for the good fight
Save your tears for the sorrow
Spend your love it's alright
Before it's gone gone gone tomorrow

For the day will come when you leave this dusty town
And your cross will take its place by your father's in the ground
Love is not just a fable that Hollywood bought and sold
Oh let me tell you now love is the only road

Blue River by Peter Mayer

March Madness! I know what you are thinking, why is RTG writing about the NCAA Basketball tourney? But, the March Madness I’m talking about begins tomorrow on Palm/Passion Sunday.
It’s the “march” we take every year. And just like the month of March, Jesus arrives like a “lion” but leaves like a lamb, the perfect Passover lamb.
We walk with each other as we follow Jesus to the cross.
My hope and prayer is that you see Him through all the “march madness.”
Peter is spot on -- “love is the only road.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day

H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 “World Water Day”

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

Today is World Water Day. You can learn more about it by clicking here.
On this day, I want to give a “shout-out” to Gary White and Matt Damon who do some amazing things at
If you are reading this devo or listening to it, you have something that more than a billion people in the world don’t have, namely, access to potable water. Today is a day to give thanks for water. It is a day to think and pray about water. It is a day to become involved in issues related to water. It is a day to help become part of the solution.
God promises in Isaiah 43:19,
I am about to do a new thing;now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
I simply love Peter’s song, Stirrin’ Up The Water.
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
Stir it up today!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rest Area

Rest Area

This is an Encore Devo, first published on March 8, 2007

"Comfort and joy the spirit brings
In darkest trials drink from the spring
Hear the promise that no time could ever hold
That's forever, for young and old"

Stirrin' Up The Water by Peter Mayer

I am very pro-church. I suppose you would think that should be a requirement of my job. Perhaps it is a mandatory feeling and or stance. However, I will also say that I know very well the institutional church's shortcomings and frailties. Church is a divine institution while comprised of human beings. Therein lies the blessings and the challenges.

Church can be described by lots of metaphors and images. One of the ones I really like is that of a rest area. Along the journey of life there are those places and spaces where we need to have some time to be refreshed and rest. A sanctuary where we can stretch our legs, have something to eat, check the map, get a drink of water and be relieved.

I'm hoping your experience of church is a positive one. If it isn't, I apologize for that and hope to do my part in making it better. At the same time, I know many of you work hard to make your congregation a welcoming and hospitable place, an area of rest and shalom.

God promised,
"I am about to do a new thing;
      now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
      I will make a way in the wilderness
      and rivers in the desert.
20The wild animals will honor me,
      the jackals and the ostriches;
      for I give water in the wilderness,
      rivers in the desert,
      to give drink to my chosen people,"
 Isaiah 43:19-20

The next time you go by a church or to church, my hope is that it is a place connected to God's new thing. I pray the "plumbing" is working.

See you in church,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yes I Will!

 H2odevos p4p Lent 2013 Yes I Will!

"I will love you forever, yes I will
Follow you like a river, yes I will
Swing low and swing high, the years may come and
pass you by
But all my life I'll love you still say
Yes I will"

Yes I Will by Peter Mayer

In these weeks prior to Easter I'm trying to do a couple of homebound visits each day.
I like to quote that great theologian Yogi Berra who said, "You can observe a lot just by watching." And so as I go about these home visits, I observe, I watch. I see senior citizens who live alone or as a couple. I see determination beyond belief. I see flexibility and faithfulness manifested beyond one's wildest dreams. I see love.

Yesterday I saw a couple. He lives at a facility where there is a memory loss unit. She lives about 5-10 minutes away. They are so in love. And this isn't some "pie in the sky" relationship, for they have seen and experienced struggles along the way. But, they have joy because of their love for each other, their family and for God.

His recognition or should I say cognition isn't the sharpest these days. And yet, when I said the Words of Institution, he was mouthing them as I said them. When we prayed The Lord's Prayer, he didn't miss a beat.

As I sat there I could hear Peter singing these words:

"I will love you forever, yes I will
Follow you like a river, yes I will
Swing low and swing high,
the years may come and pass you by
But all my life I'll love you still say
Yes I will"

Sometimes, you "can observe a lot, just by watching."