Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mark 11:15-18

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, 'Is it not written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations"? But you have made it a den of robbers.' And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him.

One thing the same

This is a very different Jesus than the one in my office.

Every morning I switch on the office light and see a painting I love on the opposite wall. Jesus is blessing children. A tender smile spreads across his face as he welcomes and touches children gathered around him.

But not here. In today's story, Jesus is violent, filled with passion and anger. He throws tables around. Coins clatter across the stone pavement of the temple court.

He rages at those who distract human hearts from connecting with God.

Jesus looks so different, but he is not different at all. One thing always remains the same. He hungers for you. He hungers for each of us to know God, heart-to-heart, and he hates everything that gets in the way.

What gets in your way?

Pr. David Miller

Monday, March 05, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Psalm 84:1-2

How lovely is your dwelling place,
   O Lord of hosts! 
My soul longs, indeed it faints
   for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy     
   to the living God.                                 

Dwelling Place

You dwell in the outer reaches of space yet are near as my breath. You are the light that opens my eyes as bird choirs chant your praise. You are the silent watcher who speaks in the night when sleep will not come.

There is no place you are not and no place you refuse to meet us. Wherever we go, you are there ... waiting.

Yet, you seem more real in some places than others. For the ancient Jews the temple was that place their hearts sang with the joy of knowing you.

But I come here, a gray chair, a desk in the basement quiet. This is your dwelling place ... for me. I know you in the sweet silence broken only by my fingers on the keys and the gurgle of steaming coffee.

I hurry down the steps to sit and listen to your word, craving that one exquisite moment when a word will carry me into a Great Love and fill me with joy and tears.

You are the Great Love who haunts my days and refuses to rest at night, for you long for me to know you. You crave me as much as I need you.

Having known and tasted you, nothing else can satisfy. There is no joy like simply being ... with you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

John 2:18-21

The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 

The place

Some places are holy. They are like temples, where heaven and earth are one and we taste the grace of God.

Some holy places are not places at all, but a person … or a group of people … in whose presence we feel and know God’s presence touching and filling our hearts.

We should hurry back to these places of presence … and to these people, look into their eyes and listen to their laughter. It revives us and breathes joy into our hearts. The life of God comes alive in us.

God is and can be known everywhere for God is an everywhere God. True, but this everywhere God is known in special places, and the temple was central for the Jewish people. The temple was ‘the place of meeting.’

Jesus says that central place of meeting was being replaced by his body. Knowing him, seeing him, praying to and with him, listening to him, being with those who know and love him … this has become the place where God is known.

Everyone and everything and every place where the Spirit of his grace and mercy breathes is the place of meeting.  

I recently heard someone described as a ‘safe place’ for the troubled people he served. He was not very religious, I was told. But listening, I knew, his life was a holy place, a temple of grace.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mark 8: 34-35

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Be large

Come into a larger world. See it. Feel it. Let it full your heart. It is right there ... where you are.

The world of Jesus is the community of love, the kingdom of God revealed in his every touch and healing, every time he blesses the broken, in his invitation to see every moment as a gift and every human soul as God’s beloved.

Give yourself to this, he says. Set aside your narrow ego, step beyond what it good only for you and seek this world of communal grace. Enter the struggle of living the truth of this world, and you will find yourself.

You will discover your truest heart and the love you were created to know and live. You will find the joy of hearts more beautiful and alive than any you have ever known.

And you will know me, your highest joy.

Life is not getting what you think you want or achieving the goal you imagine will make you important ... or happy.

You were made for this larger world where the Love breaks every boundary and makes your heart as wide as the sky. Anything less is beneath you.

You are Love’s precious child.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mark 8:27-30

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.


The life of faith is one of expectation, holy expectation. We expect something … make that someone to appear.

We lean into each day eager to see and know and feel God … the Love God is … visible and knowable, so that our hearts might smile within us, alive with the joy that carries us through to day’s end.

Jesus lived at a time of high expectation. Periodic fevers ran through a land hungry for a Messiah, a God-ordained figure who would bring deliverance, physical, political and spiritual.

I wonder how Peter came to the conclusion that Jesus was the One. What did he see? What did he feel? What did he remember from the Scripture that led him to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah?

For me … it is always the Love I see and know in him. It is the wonder of a healing touch, the gentleness with the children and the anger at all that mars and defaces the richness of human thriving. He loves like God loves.

I wake each day expecting that somewhere, somehow, in someone that Love will touch me.
It’s what faith does.

Pr. David L. Miller     

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Romans 4:3-5

For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. 

Just be

Just be. That is the welcome invitation hidden in these words. Just be with me and know ... it is okay. You are ok. Perfect? Hardly. But wanted and welcome. Always.

The Holy One invites you to come close and live in heart-to-heart communion. You cannot do that if you are always wondering, “Am I good enough? Do I have to prove myself? Will I have to do something today to make up for yesterday?”

Let it go. Let it all go.

There is no need to prove yourself or earn your way into the good graces of the God who is grace and love beyond all knowing, poured out for us in Jesus Christ.

The Holy One invites us ... welcomes us ... into a true friendship where we know the divine heart and share our own hearts with God.

Frankly, I don’t like the language of righteousness and justification. It feels cold to me, legal and impersonal. But it is here, in Scripture, amid a rigorous argument about how anyone can be right with God.

And it bears good news: God has made everything right through Christ. So it’s okay. Just be.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Matthew 4:1-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 

Know this

Forgetfulness lies at the root of every temptation. We forget who we are. We are beloved. The Holy One has promised never to abandon or betray us.

Jesus knew. He was constantly aware that God’s promise and nearness accompanied him wherever he went. He trusted God’s Spirit would provide what he needed each moment as he revealed God’s kingdom.

He did not fall into the temptation to use his power to serve and protect himself. He used his power for others, knowing his security rested in the eternal, unfailing love of God.

Every day, each new morning we should rise and remind ourselves who we are ... and who God is.

God is the Loving Mystery whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

And we are the beloved of this great God who goes before us into every circumstance, hungry to bless us amid the wilderness of living.

Knowing this, we can live with open hearts and gentle confidence, using our power to serve the Love who loves us.

Pr. David L. Miller