Sunday, July 08, 2018

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Mark 14:32-36

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’

Stay awake to who you are, to what you are called to be and do, for you are a word, a life, spoken by God as a partial expression of God’s own being.

Suffering and threat, discouragement and resistance from others and within yourself dissuades you from being that which you are. This is the central temptation of life, to be something other, something less than the soul you are.

An easier road appears that sidesteps the pain of speaking and living the truth of your life, of being the particular soul of love you are created to be and ever more to become. No human soul avoids this temptation, and everyone (except one, I suppose) falls under its sway at least sometimes.

Jesus does not fall to the power that opposes him and each of us. He prays. He stays awake to the power that tempts him and even more to the depth of his soul where he knows and hears the Voice of Love who tells him who he is and calls him to his mission.

He does not lose himself. He does not turn from the Love who lives within him to an easier way, but in suffering reveals the fullness of the divine heart, the Infinite Love who goes into death to break its power.

Staying awake is about knowing this Love, taking it in with every breath, sitting in silence and knowing you are not your mind, your thoughts, your accomplishments, failures nor even your hopes. 

You are not what others think of you nor the opinions you have long held about yourself.
Let it all go, and know: You are an expression of Everlasting Love. All that most matters is knowing this and living each moment in the freedom only such Love can give.

Life’s busy distractions and entertainments, its inevitable compromises, conflicts and pleasures, too, make it easy to lose yourself, to fall asleep and be so much less than you are. The best thing that can happen then is to feel the ache of incompletion within your heart, for that is the voice of Jesus calling you again to wake and know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

John 13:1-5

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

Knowing who you are

Knowing who you are, you know what to do, and you have strength within to give yourself to it. Jesus knew. Do you?

He knew he would be betrayed. He knew he would suffer. But first he knew he was the presence of the Immeasurable and Inconceivable, the Love who is before time … and who is for us and all creation.

He knew the time had come to reveal the Heart who is our truest home. And knowing, he took a towel and washed the feet of his friends, like a servant. I cannot see this and not love him. It is impossible, for I see the Love by whom we are loved and I know who I am and who I can be, although I am so often not.

I am the object, the recipient, the treasured pearl of the One who is this Great Love. As are you.  

Imagine for a moment that it is your feet he washes. His hands move across the sole, then the toes, arch and top of your feet. See and know: It is our lives being caressed by the Love we have always needed but for which we could scarcely ask, ashamed of admitting our crying need and fearing such Love is impossible, an illusion.

But his hands tell us it is not illusion.

Jesus washes feet, a defining act, in which we know … who God is, who we are … and the Love we can share.

We are more blessed and noble creatures than we assume. We enter our true blessedness and nobility when we know, when the Love he is halts our driven lives and anxious efforts to prove our worth and asks, “Do you know?

Real life starts in knowing.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

John 11:32-37

When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Why I believe

The way to understand Jesus’ divinity, his God-ness, is through the depth of his humanity, which is fully on display in these words. He comes, he sees the sorrow of people he loves and he stands at the tomb of a friend … and weeps.

I love Jesus for this. I don’t love Jesus for his power. I don’t love him because he did wondrous things, like raising his friend, Lazarus, from death.

I love him for his tears … for being profoundly human, for sharing human vulnerability and sorrow. 

Here I know: I am not alone. None of us are. This Love that he is … stands with us, mourning the destruction of life and beauty, aching for restoration.

The humanity of God glistens in his tears, revealing the depth of divine love.

In Jesus’ heart, there is a Voice who speaks, “This should not be! Life must not be reduced to dust. Beauty and joy, color and laughter must prevail, for that is my will, my hope, my dream.”

This is God’s voice, the Loving Spirit who filled Jesus from first to last through his life. Healing and hope begins here.

Our hope for new life each and every day, our hope for final resurrection begin in the wounded heart of God that refuses to be content with anything less than life, life healed, life restored, life raised from every death that lays us low.

Jesus invites us to the privilege of knowing God through his tears that we may know we are loved beyond all imagination by the One whose heart refuses to let us go.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mark 1:14-15

Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ 


Do you know what kind of world this is? Can you believe that today is extraordinary? Can you go beyond the mind you have and truly see the wonder into which you woke this morning?

Despite the bitter divides of the political realm, despite the dying and struggling that goes on in every land, place and family, despite the injustice and denial of mercy that wounds millions ... even helpless children longing for shelter, this is a world in which the kingdom of God is present.

Many things seem to contradict such faith, but the energy of God’s love is here and now.

You see and feel it in every act of grace, every small mercy and every impulse to care and love. You know it every moment your heart with gratitude yearns to cry aloud, “thank you!” Thank you for the sacred gift of life that animates our bodies and for every glimpse of light and color that delights our senses.

The anger and bitterness that poisons so much of our public and political life fixates our minds on the ugliness of the times, poisoning our souls, hardening our hearts.

From this Jesus graciously calls us to repent, that is to go beyond your present mind to a new mind, a new way of seeing, a way that must be re-claimed each new day. Look beyond what divides. Look beyond the bitterness of the news. Look beyond all that fixates the mind on what is small, petty and divisive.

Look into your own heart and see the hunger for love and beauty. Look at the beauty of flower and hear the laughter of children when they are really being children, unperturbed by all that preoccupies their elders. Look and see where beauty lies and what is graceful and good. Look and see.

You live in a world where the kingdom of God, the living presence of the Love, is alive and well. Look and see. Believe the good news.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Matthew 3:16-27

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

At one

Moments come when my heart and the heart of God are like two circles, one overlying the other. The circles intersect within me, at least in part, and love floods in through the place they overlap. 

The Spirit God flows through the opening into me.  My heart is lifted into an exquisite joy that is only known when the human soul is one with its Source.

The moment may not endure for long, but the awareness and joy lingers long after, filling the body with energy and joy, vitality and strength, and contentment with being exactly who one is—a soul made by and intended for this unity.

This experience helps me understand Jesus.

The title Son of God is not to be understood biologically but relationally. Jesus is the Son who lives in constant unity, oneness with God.

The circle of Jesus heart and the circle of the Holy Mystery overlap completely, one superimposed over the other so that divinity, the Loving Mystery, fills and flows through him without obstruction.

The Spirit is unimpeded in him. Spirit flows from eternity through his physical body to reveal the wonder God is, the Love God is, the healing God is, the abiding presence God is.

In moments of oneness, when the circles overlap however partially in my heart, I know. I know who God is, and Jesus is truly my brother and savior. What he knew in full ... I know in part, even as he leads me to know the fullness of the Love Who Is and who hungers to flow into us as we pray and live, opening ourselves to the Love who is ... everywhere.

Be at peace. We are, of all beings, most privileged to know this mystery.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Luke 15:17, 31-32

But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!
Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”’

One thing doesn’t change

A man has two sons. One takes his inheritance while the father is still living, thinking he can separate from the family and make a better life elsewhere.

The older son stays home, works like a dog on his father’s estate, doing everything he thinks his father wants from him … and resents it.

How many sons does the father have? Answer: none. One discards his identity and treats his father as if he doesn’t matter. The other never accepts and claims his identity as a son. Neither of them realize who they are … or how privileged.

But the younger son comes to himself and realizes he has a home and a father to which to return. He doesn’t claim his identity right away. He returns home hoping for a job, believing he burnt his bridges so there’s no going back to where he started. He refuses to believe his father will accept him as a son until his father sees him coming and throws a party.

The elder never left but also never accepted that all the father has, the love, the wealth, the blessings … are all his. All he ever needed to do was accept and enjoy what is right in front of him. Instead he resents his father and refuses to celebrate his brother’s return.

How many sons does the father have now? Answer: one, unless the older son comes to his senses and joins the party.

The story is all about identity, ours and God’s. God is full of grace and love, giving us a privileged identity as blessed children, sharing the wealth of divine life and love with us. It is God’s good pleasure to do so.

All that is in Christ is ours—forgiveness and blessing, power and wisdom, and intimacy with the great love that is in him. This, too, is ours.

Accept it, trust it, receive and revel in being God’s beloved, a soul in whom God delights. This is who you are. Never forget it. Remind yourself of this central truth of your life every morning. Nothing that happens today … or ever … can change this.
It’s who you are … and who God is.                  

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Luke 12:1-3

Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered in thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.

True to you

In ancient Greece, actors on the stage were hupocrites, in modern English, hypocrites. They wore the face of another who was not them. Their surface appearance didn’t reveal the truth, the heart of the person.

This was the problem of the Pharisees, Jesus said. They played a role. Everything looked good and righteous, pious and faithful. But on the inside their hearts were far from the justice and compassion that are true faithfulness to God.

They were pretenders for the sake of how others see them, driven by the ego’s need to look good in the eyes of others.

All humanity shares this affliction, of course. Too much of what is inside us is not fit for public viewing—our sin, angry words, nasty thoughts, judgmental opinions. We, too, shape our public image so that is better than what we know of ourselves.

God knows all this, of course, and loves us anyway—fully, totally, extraordinarily and forever. We are sinful, but beloved sinners who should not think ourselves shameful or worthless because we fall short of the goodness God seeks in us.

Acknowledging and confessing our sin is not an exercise in groveling. It is the cure for hypocrisy. It leads us into greater awareness of the Love who wants and transforms us into people who are not actors but true expressions of the Love God is for us … and for all.

Holy One, this day may we live not for the sake of how others see us, but only for the sake of your love.

Pr. David L. Miller