Greetings from Peter Mayer

Sunday, April 20, 2014

BNA - Go, Tell + See

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

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."  Matthew 28

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

Welcome and thank you for gathering together to celebrate Easter here at Bethany Lutheran Church. It is a holy day and that’s why we Christ is RISEN! “He is Risen, Indeed, Alleluia.” Christ’s victory over sin, death and the grave calls for a response. So, in honor of that and also because this message is too big for one preacher to carry by himself- every time I say, “This is the day that the | LORD has made;”  I’d like for you to respond by saying, “ let us rejoice and be | glad in it.”
So, let’s try that one time-

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

We do rejoice and are glad in it. That’s why we have such lovely music filling the sanctuary today. That’s why the chancel area is dressed up in it’s Easter garments. That’s why you and I have come here to participate in what is REAL! Namely, that Jesus is alive!

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

Two weeks ago the Bethany Foundation gave away $5,000 as seed money so that we might grow it and bring it back next week. It’s a powerful, if not risky, crazy reminder that God gives us blessings and we are called to invest ourselves in those blessings in order that we might share them with others. For when you think about it, we have “an avalanche” of grace, hope and love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hot Cross Buns

+Easter Vigil+

Welcome child into our family

Washed in water, reborn and free

A sign on your forehead and your heart

The cross that never will depart
Allelujah Allelujah 
Allelujah come and sing

Stirrin’ up the water
 Stirrin’ up my soul

A Light comes to the darkness

Come and make me whole

Oh Stir it up, stir it up, Oh Lord
The call goes out to near and distant lands

Come all you children into my hands

Grow like branches on the living tree

Washed in water, reborn and free
Allelujah Allelujah 
Allelujah now we sing

Comfort and joy the spirit brings

In darkest trials, drink from the spring

Hear the promise that no time could ever hold

It’s forever, for young and old
Allelujah Allelujah 
Allelujah Lord we sing
Stirrin’ Up the Water  by Peter Mayer

I’m making hot cross buns today. It’s a custom a started long ago with our daughter Hannah Grace. We’re not together this year, but I’m thinking about her as I “stir up” and stir in all the ingredients. The spices are what get me the most. Nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice. I think of the women gathering all the spices to “embalm” the body (for there is a balm in Gilead). Their sad, sad souls and hearts were broken.

I beat the eggs and remember one person saying, “you can’t make an omelet unless you break some eggs.” What needs to be “cracked open” in our lives? What needs to be blended together? Right now the dough is “resting” and rising. Shrouded in old tea towels that have been in my wife’s and my family for ages. In our busy 24/7 world when do we Sabbath? God made us to be 24/6 and here we are running around like chickens. Yes, those little chicks that Jesus says he wishes he was like a mother hen for us to gather us under the shadow of God’s wings.

I shared the following quote from Miriam Weinstein the other evening as we “welcomed our 53 first communion participants” to the table.  In a soccer/baseball/hockey/ballet/music lesson driven culture-where is the table?

If this generation forgets what gathering around the table means and can mean-will the table/altar up front look like a big desk? And with portable tablets and phones, what is a desk even all about?

But, even though I ask these questions, I believe. I believe in the power of eating and drinking together. I believe in gathering around each other in a circle. I know the transformational power of spices. I trust that the little bite of bread and sip of wine that we hand out is truly given and shed FOR YOU, for the forgiveness of sins.

Families who eat supper together…discourage smoking, drug use and teen pregnancy.
Families who eat supper together…position their kids to do better in school
Families who eat supper together…pass on their ethnic, familial and religious heritage
Families who eat supper together…help prevent eating disorders and obesity
Families who eat supper together…build their kids’ literacy, vocabulary and conversational skills
Families who eat supper together…teach their kids manners
Families who eat supper together…promote a sense of resilience that will last a lifetime
Families who eat supper together…enjoy each other more as a family

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

Allelujah now we SING!



Friday, April 18, 2014

Cross-Fit - Good Friday

+Good Friday+

“But nobody wants to know him,

They can see that he’s just a fool,

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

Sees the sun going down,

And the eyes in his head,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Table Talk - Maundy Thursday

“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”
Still in One Peace by Peter Mayer

I love these next three days. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil comprise one service over three nights. It’s as if each service ends with the “cliffhanger message” “TO BE CONTINUED”….

Today is Maundy Thursday. It’s name comes from the Latin word for “commandment” mandatum. On this day Jesus said, 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 

35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13)

I’m not so sure this is a “new” commandment. However, I am not really in a position to argue with Jesus on this day. But, love and loving one another as we have been loved are core principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Karen Armstrong in her book on Compassion also makes the case that Love is central to the teachings of all major religions. So, what exactly is Jesus saying to us with this new commandment?

Maybe it comes down to the fact that loving another or one another is new each and every time we do it. And as we gather around the table, whether that be at home, or in a restaurant or at church we hear the words, “do this in remembrance of me.”

Peter is so good at describing our saint/sinner dialectic by singing, “we are blessed, we are broken.” Within the same line he says it all. There are parts of me (and I’m sure of you) that are just wonderful, caring, full of love and kindness. And there are also part of me (and I’m sure of you) that are not wonderful, apathetic, spiteful and mean. We are not one or the other, but as Luther and (now Peter) so eloquently remind us, we are BOTH!

Maybe then, this new commandment is also like that in that it is an old permission- you know how one airlines says “you are now free to roam the country.” God has been granting us this freedom to love for as long as homo sapiens have been taking their breaths on the face of this earth.

We come to the table to eat and drink in remembrance. We come to “taste and see” that the Lord is good. We come just as we are without one plea- and that is enough.

Bon appetite!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


“We got our maps our clues, police and policy

Still we cannot trace the spirits nest

We hunt for miles and all the while it paints the scenery

Scatters and whirls an arabesque
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
We better lock him up the crazy man

He’s causing trouble, brewing storms

Traded fashion for compassion

The revolution fought with kindness not a sword”
Loose in the World by Peter Mayer

Dr. Walter Brueggemann in his book Spirituality of the Psalms writes about psalms that are of “orientation, dis-orientation and new orientation.”  Real quick like, Psalm 8 is a psalm of orientation. It’s a creation hymn. Psalm 22 (which Jesus quotes on the cross is a psalm of dis-orientation) “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And Psalm 23 or Psalm 46 are of a new orientation.

I’d like to humbly submit another song of new orientation and that would be “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. This is a wonderful psalm which moves one out of sadness and pain into joy and comfort. One cannot listen to this without tapping your toes and getting your mojo moving.

I especially like the line
“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof Because I’m happy”
In New Harmony, Indiana there is a chapel without a roof. What this reminds me of is Peter’s line,
“God is loose in the world.”  As N.F.S Grundtvig reminds us in “Built on a Rock”

“Surely, in temples made with hands
            God the Most High is not dwelling—
            high in the heav'ns his temple stands,
            all earthly temples excelling.
            Yet he who dwells in heav'n above
            deigns to abide with us in love,
            making our bodies his temple.”

Text: Nicolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1783-1872; tr. Carl Doving, 1867-1937, adapt.
Text © 1958 Service Book and Hymnal, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

So today, listen to this wonderful psalm and be happy!
It might seem crazy what I’m about to say Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way 
[Chorus:]  Because I’m happy Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof Because I’m happy Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth Because I’m happy Clap along if you know what happiness is to you Because I’m happy Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


“Ride the crazy wheel of the twenty-first century

Well a million miles have come and gone

And there’s nothing left to bleed

Bear the cross of freedom

It burns me like a brand

That’s the price of miracles

The price of human demand

And the things I love they seem to allude me now

My time is raindrops falling on a rusty plow”
Last Train To Eden by Peter Mayer, Roger Guth, Jim Mayer

“Bear the cross of freedom, it burns me like a brand.”

This week we find ourselves East of Eden. Due to our own choices and brokenness we find ourselves outside of Paradise. The cheering which took place on Sunday is quickly turning to worry and fear.

The baptismal font in the devotion is from St. James Piccadilly-London. It’s the font where William Blake was baptized. I like it because you can see Adam and Eve next to the tree.  Learn more HERE.   

We are making our journey to another tree, the cross. Much has been written about how this “tree” is present or absent in many theologies and even church buildings today. Jesus knew loneliness He knew abandonment. He felt betrayal, shame and pain. This wondrous love we celebrate came at a cost.

Today I’m meditating on the cost of discipleship. I’m grateful for what Jesus did for the world.