Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Today's text

Isaiah 9:1

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on the inhabitants of a country in shadow dark as death light has blazed forth.”

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Come, O Dayspring, dazzling star of everlasting tomorrow.
Illumine our hearts that we may see your new age.
We weary of this one.

The challenges of our days drain us dry, sapping
our souls of the joy you crave for all you love.

Let us see the beauty of your blessed face and glimpse
he world’s future, our future, and know:
it is you.
You are the future, the rose-glow dawning of love
everlasting, which no death can hold.

So come, convince our souls that we belong to
your tomorrow that joy might fill our
frame, and your beauty may glow from our depths.
Draw us beyond our fears and exhaustion into
the world of your grace that we may ever watch for
the light that shines on those who dwell in deep darkness.

Come, O Dayspring. Illumine us with the light of your tomorrow that
we might live today.

Pr. David L. Miller
Saturday, December 22, 2007

Today's text

Isaiah 22:22; 42:6-9

The key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison-house. I am Yahweh, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to engraved images. Behold, the former things have happened, and new things do I declare. Before they spring forth I tell you of them.

O Key of David: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.

Come, Key of David; open the door that leads to life.

In the tender flesh of your incarnation you grace the tired Earth
with the freshness of divine embrace.
You take all that is and all we are into the warmth
of intimate embrace where no one
is a stranger and nothing is alien.

Our hearts fly open, and all that is in your divine heart
flows into us.
All we are, our confusion and sin,
our contradictions and failures,
our ideals and hopes, all
of it received and overwhelmed in
the immensity of your mercy.
All we are, lifted and liberated into
truest life as your heart fills and transforms
our own until we, too, radiate
the warmth of your divine embrace.

So come, Key of David, enfold us in the wonder of your incarnation.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today's text

Isaiah 11:1,10

“A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots. ... That day, the root of Jesse, standing as a signal for the peoples, will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious."
O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

Come, Root of Jesse; free us from ourselves.
Peace escapes us. It lies beyond our grasp.
But that is our problem.
Our feverish souls struggle to grasp and gain what can be received only with open hands
Young, we learn life is about grasping what we want.
Life soon is defined by enlarging our territory, snatching
what we can and protecting it
from those who threaten.
The restless rhythm plays out on playgrounds and the planet’s bloodiest
streets, from Baghdad to Bethlehem, from Mogadishu to, well, Hyde Park.
And it kills us, teaching us to fear, reducing creation to a commodity to be consumed
And human beings to competitors.

Freedom and peace flow from your boundless divine generosity, Loving Mystery.
In the advent of your beloved, Jesus, you pour out your beauty and love that
our hearts may know the abundance you intend for all you have made.
May we savor the joy you take in giving yourself to us.
Only so, can we know you.
Only so, will gentle gratitude replace our feverish grasping.

So come, Root of Jesse. Free us from ourselves. We weary of war.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today's text

Isaiah 11:4-5

“But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.”

O Adonai, Ruler of Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

Come, Adonai, redeem our hearts and lives.
Teach our forgetful souls that we are precious in your sight.
We forget.
Shatter our hearts and make us whole.

I sit and watch from across a room.
A mother raises a tiny child to her lips,
a little girl I imagine, for all the pink, but
premature by any bodily measure.
She kisses one tender cheek and lays
the little head over her heart.
Fragile, she rests there, soothed
by the first sound she ever heard:
the rhythm of a human heart pumping
the warm blood of life into her,
a parable of your love, of
time and eternity.
I stand silent and unseen, fearing
to breathe,
lest I shatter the purity of a love freely given.
Mother and child, an ageless ritual, shimmering
with gentleness and peace flowing
ancient and sweet
from the impenetrable heart of eternity.

And from that dense darkness, you speak,
“You are precious.
You are mine.
Do not fear.
Do you imagine that I love you less?”

So come, Adonai; call us by name.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Note: The O Antiphons, composed for monastic singing, are paraphrased in the hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The antiphons highlight seven titles for the Messiah, using prophecies from the prophet Isaiah. Prayers for these final days leading to Christmas will reflect upon these ancient chants.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today's text

Isaiah 11:2-3

"The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord."

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation

Come, Holy Wisdom.
The calendar turns. Advent comes. The soul longs … for more.
Our music assumes a minor key melancholy.
Darkness descends much too early. Earth cools.
Leaves, lately golden, fade and freeze to leaden earth.
We scurry from door to door, bitter chill chafing our cheeks.
From tasks half done, we dash to the next, racing to clear the desk before the holy
days, forgetting that all days are holy.

The world is too much with us.
Death stalks Darfur.
Hate stains the holy land
The way of peace escapes the wisdom of the learned and powerful.
Disease hunts family and friend, haunting memory and expectation.
The poor watch the mail box with dread, and the homeless shiver on our streets.
Secret loneliness broods behind suburban windows.
While e-mail abhors any vacuum where our hearts might remember
who we are and the love for which you intend us.
We come to sit in quiet pews for respite, to breathe, to find we are not alone.

And to hope in you.
So come now, resplendent beauty, heal our tired eyes.
Reveal your face in the marriage of Spirit and mortal flesh.
Join our hearts to you who are wisdom from on high.
Come, Holy Wisdom. We want to live.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's text

Matthew 11:2-6

Now John had heard in prison what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, “are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect to someone else?” Jesus answered, “Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, the lame walk, those suffering virulent skin diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed in anyone who does not find me a cause for falling.”


Blessed are the eyes that see you and the ears that hear you. More: blessed is the heart that believes you are the awaited one, Jesus, for they alone enter the joy of the God’s future.

They alone have eyes to see and ears to hear the music of tomorrow amid the din of today. They alone see and hear the beauty of what you are doing in every time and place. They alone are able to join the celebration of hope that breaks through the dreariness of gray winter days.

So let us believe that you are the one, the face of tomorrow, that today we may savor the colors of a world to come, glimpsing eternity in the contours of the common where, even now, you cleanse and heal, lift and live.

Let us see and hear, for perceiving you infuses my tired arms and drug-dulled mind with the vigor of that day when all you are will strengthen every weak arm, when the fullness of your life explodes in translucent glory.

Open our hearts to believe that we may expect no one … but you.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come to every moment of our time and every place of our dwelling.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, December 14, 2007

Today's text

Matthew 3:10-12

[John the Baptist said]: “Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptize you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out."


Surprising and Unexpected One, do you startle even your messengers, hiding yourself from them even as they announce what little they know of you? John in his passion is as much wrong as right. He seems to expect a larger, more fierce version of himself. He is neither the first nor the last to confuse his way with yours.

Your appearance is more surprising and generous than he imagined, more gentle and subtle than his own. But he is also right: You appear in our flesh with world-shattering power to divide and heal, and to remake all things from the inside out.

Your appearance created deep distinction among souls, Jesus. Some welcomed you, making room for your birth into Mary’s arms. Some refused and feared your appearance, seeking to kill all that threatened to upset their world, so neatly ordered for their comfort.

People, like me, I suppose, made room for you as one more human soul, just one more traveler on life’s journey to the grave, expecting no more than this. They little imagined the world-shattering wonder they’d allowed access to their hearts. Certainly, I did not.

And you take that, Jesus, coming with Holy Spirit and fire to ignite us from lethargy into love, filling us with the same divine fire that willed your incarnation, burning us with that flame that does, indeed, burn off all that is not love, chaff indeed.

So come, Lord Jesus. Come with your fire. Our hearts grow cold.

Pr. David L. Miller