Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today’s text

Philippians 2:1-4

So if in Christ there is anything that will move you, any incentive in love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any warmth or sympathy -- I appeal to you, make my joy complete by being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind. Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others.


Just what is there in you that moves me, Jesus? What might move me to true community of mind and heart?

It’s silly, I know, and bad art, too. But there is that old painting that hung above the piano in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran, when I was a boy in Sunday school. You sit atop a hill, chin lifted a bit, gazing into the distance.

You are at peace, and I always imagined your soul rested in harmony with the One you always called, ‘Father.’ You were one with that One, and whatever is in that One flowed ceaselessly through you--whatever love or mystery, whatever peace or purpose, whatever mercy or mission.

You would steal away just to sit and be with that One that you might know who you are. And in those moments, the stream of divinity within you broadened and deepened so that there was no separation between you and the Father. You were one.

And I looked on from my Sunday school chair, divided from other the classes by the green curtains and by my thoughts, which transported me far away to a place more wonderful and alive than the drab, gray basement.

The painting reminds me of all the times you stole away from your friends to sit in silence and prayer with the Loving Mystery, the Father.

It still moves me. Many of your other acts also move me, Jesus. But today I am taken with that kitschy old painting, which probably went into the junk heap long ago. There was nothing about it much worth saving, except its impression on a young boy’s heart.

And that endures, moving me all these decades later, and inviting me into the silence where I am with you, communing with the Great Silence who is love--and who flows, however, haltingly, though this troubled soul, too.

I seek your silence today, Jesus, that my soul may rest and remember who I am. Grant me sweet oneness with the One I, too, bear.

Pr. David L. Miller

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