Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Matthew 13:24-30

“Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Fields of gold

Watch the wheat. Keep your eyes on goodness and grace, beauty and care. You live amid fields of gold. Refuse to be distracted by the weeds within, and your soul will grow expansive and great ... like the heart of God.

In Nebraska, I lived on a knoll surrounded by broad where I witnessed the annual drama of planting, growth and harvest. Two moments of exquisite beauty never failed to move me.

In late winter, there always came a sunlit day when the warm rays reflected translucent green, the color of hope, as sun light illumined tender shoots, still encased in ice, as the wheat, long dormant, was raised to life.

Then came late June, when west winds stirred waves of wheat rolling like ocean swells across the fields. Golden stems, their heads heavy with grain, flowed like water, an unceasing tide of life across gentle slopes that stretched to the sunset.

There were weeds, of course, green and scraggly, that spoiled the perfection that moved my heart. But mostly, I looked beyond them to see the beauty of land and sky, the gratuitous bounty of the earth, eager I was to dig my hands into deep piles of harvested kernels and feel the life-sustaining kernels run through my fingers.  

This is how God sees the world and the weeds that spoil the beauty of life we each are. The Holy Love remains undistracted by the weeds, the problems, the evil that threaten the beauty and joy of this good creation.

God’s eyes and heart focus on growing wheat ... and will not risk losing one single plant, not one single grain. Not one.

We do well to imitate this, looking at the grain, the beauty, the hope, freeing our vision from fixation with what is wrong. For then the seeds of God’s life and love grow in us to greater harvest.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, May 14, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Acts 17: 28

He is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”….

Cardinals, too

A cardinal lights on a low branch of the bushes in front of the breezeway, seeking shelter from the rain under the dense, green canopy. I didn’t recognize him at first, my glasses being off as I read the morning paper.  But the distinctive spike at the back of his head soon gave him away.

A happy, noisy, red bird came to visit me again. That’s been happening a lot lately. They seem more plentiful this spring, and they never fail to bring a smile.

Today, he was in no hurry to leave. The rain kept him near, five feet at the most, and no fear at my presence distressed him as he waited out the drops, occasionally calling out, ‘tuu, tuu, tuuuu." I echoed his call with a breathy whistle which likely confused him. What could he possibly make of a 187 pound cardinal whose call sounds, well, a little sick?

Then, silent as he came, he flew off, leaving me a few degrees happier to have been visited by a colorful guest who shared shelter from the rain with me.

Gratuitous is the word that comes to mind. It was a little moment that is a gift, free, gratis; it just came without any effort from me, waking my smile and reminding me that I share this earth with wondrous creatures that delight my eye and gladden my heart.

Why should something so small and inconsequential in the great sweep of time change my day, lighten my heart and lift my vision toward greater expectations of the goodness of what life brings?

Maybe it starts with a simple faith, a fundamental trust in two things: first, that the wondrous Source of this universe is beneficent, generous beyond any and all expectations; and second that this mysterious Love is somehow present and sharing Love’s own substance in every moment.

In him we live and move and have our being. The One who is Love surrounds and inhabits us. Love is the substance of our being, of cardinals, too. 

Lovely when you are awaken enough to see it.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, May 11, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Luke 11:1-2

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 


“Teach us to pray.” There is a desire beneath the request: I want to know God.

All these centuries later, it is easy to imagine Jesus pulling away by himself and sitting in repose, resting in the Presence he calls Father.

It is easy, too, to understand that Jesus ‘friends wanted what he had. They wanted to know what he knew, this intimacy with the Great Loving Mystery.

What they didn’t know is that the Father shares the same desire. The desire of their hearts is the echo of God’s Spirit in the depth of our own.

The voice of God beckons. Come, sit in my nearness and know me; know the Love I am. Be here ... with me.

Love desires our presence. Love hungers for our attention. Love wants to give to us what this great God shared in intimate closeness with our brother, Jesus. Love wants to fill us that we may become the Love who is the Source of our being.

This is why are moved to pray ... to know the One Jesus knew.  Knowing God ... experiencing in our depths the Love God is ... is what we seek in prayer.

We pray for the kingdom of God to come, first, in us.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

Matthew 5:13, 16

‘You are the light of the world. ... Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

You are light

Who am I? This question is emblazoned on the heart of every human being. We come into existence having had no choice in the matter, given life as a gift and a question.

Yet, here the unspoken question of every human heart finds an answer: You are light.

The life in you is the energy of the most High God, a light unique and intended to shine with its particular radiance and color that God may be known and praised as the Holy Source of all that is good and lovely under the sun.

Glory comes as the light of God’s love is refracted through the prism of our being, divine light broken into particular colors and intensity as it penetrates, pervades and passes through our unique identities.

In the light of eternal love, each of us shines to illumine other souls, shedding the light of divine love and beauty on whatever small or large corner of creation God has placed within the compass of our lives.

You are light. There is no room for thinking yourself small or of little significance. There is light, joy, love, wonder, beauty and hope within you.

Open your heart and be what you are. The glory of God is you ... shining and alive with the light of an everlasting love.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Romans 8:14-17
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Glorious contradiction

There is a contradiction in the Christian life between immense joy and unquenchable yearning. It is a glorious contradiction that gives depth and meaning, awakening great love and hope in our hearts.

The Spirit of the Holy One cries out in our spirits at the wonder of life and beauty. We are surrounded by the greening of life as spring raises the dead from winter’s cold. Light and life, color and contour, delight the heart even more than the eye.

Filled with joy our hearts stream out in a cry as wide as the sky, “My Lord and my God, how wondrous you are. Thank you for this earth, for this life, for the wonder that I should be here under the blue expanse to see and feel all that surrounds me. Thank you that I should feel and know that I am your beloved child.”

Without quenching this praise, God’s Spirit within us also aches amid the pain and sorrow that stain every corner of creation. Hatred and hunger, poverty and pain, disease and distress, pollution and degradation mar the goodness of all God has made.

The Spirit groans in pain, but also in hope for the fullness of God’s plan to restore creation so that everything ... everywhere ... and every corner of our being is filled with praise for God’s glory, knowing only beauty and love.

We simultaneously hold both— the joy and the longing, the praise and the pain—living in this glorious contradiction, honored to know the Spirit of the Holy One within our own.

Pr.   David L. Miller

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


A scene comes to mind. It is near the end of the first century. A respected elder stands in the middle of a house lit only by candles. He holds a letter sent to a few Christian congregations in eastern Turkey. People fall silent as he reads to the group standing three deep around a bare-wood table, others sitting on the floor.

“God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing … he chose us before the world was made … he destined us to be his children.”

Us … even this the word blesses and brings joy. All these blessings, these graces, this immortal divine love is for us.

There is no ego, no hoarding in this scene. There is no room for boasting or exclusion. The words spoken and the truth they convey create a community of shared blessing where none can say that they have something others do not have.

They are joined in the mystery of grace. In the darkness of an Ephesian evening, the light in their hearts is much brighter than the candle light.

For they know: God’s eternal plan is to shower such divine love on all creation. And they feel it already there in the darkness.

This is why we gather, 20 centuries later. To hear, to feel and to know the mystery of the love that chooses us.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’ 

Anxiety’s gift

A very good man is in surgery as I write today. I know ... this happens every day. People get sick, physicians treat diseases and surgeons operate on people every single day, and the outcome is never a sure thing. That’s life.

But today it is someone I know, respect and love. I am one of many who fall into that category, and we all want the same thing for him, healing, restoration and hope for a tomorrow that is filled with the joy of family, faith and friends.

The anxiety of surgery awakens awareness that life is uncertain, unpredictable and, well, you just never know what can happen or how long it will be before the specter of disease or even sudden death will touch your family ... or you.

However anxious this day may be, this anxiety comes bearing a gift of depth and love. It awakens gratitude for God’s gift of life.

None of us calls ourselves into being. We are not the source of our existence. Life, breath, the simple reality of being is a mystery, a wonder given to us without our asking or doing anything to make it happen.

We are created, which means we are dependent upon the Source of Life, who ... we believe ... made us in the very image and likeness of God. And it is to this Loving Mystery that our hearts cry on days such as this.

We fly into the arms of God—our Maker, our sustainer, our hope—on the wings of our needs. So even on days like this, we thank you, O Lord, for you call us again to know you.

You made us for yourself. Sharing your image, our hearts find peace nowhere else ... but in you.

Pr. David L. Miller