Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today’s text

John 8:31-36

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered, 'We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, "You will be set free.’ Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave. Now a slave has no permanent standing in the household, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.

Reflection

Freedom is about space, isn’t it Jesus? We want space in which to move without restriction, space in which to think and feel and gain our bearings, space where we might find and be who we are.

The pressure of time and demands to do what needs doing fill every space some days. There is no time to stop, to look, to listen--and hence, to choose one’s way from depth of heart, instead of from the heat of the moment.

The urgency of the moment leaves no room for anything else, no room to breathe, so we live on the surface of life, not from our depths.

This is not freedom. It is the bondage of necessity. It reduces us to what we do, so that we are no longer human beings.

I long for freedom from the urgent. But is this the bondage and freedom of which you speak, my Friend?

You would free me from bondage to sin. And sin? Sin is living without awareness of love, the love that you are.

Some days, sin is living so fast that I lose touch with the center of my being where I know you, where I know you are love, where I know I am loved, where I feel the texture of the beauty I bear within as it hungers for expression.

Living too fast is a kind of sin, Jesus. It is sin because I live out of touch with the center of my soul where I most know you.

It is in knowing you, making my home in you, that freedom comes. Sometimes it comes all at once. Other times I struggle to return to the center of my soul, and I must wait for your appearance, for the bursting forth of the fountain of love you are in this soul.

But my language betrays me. For you are already there, waiting within, inviting me to return home to center of my soul. You are there, waiting to open a wide space in my soul that I may breathe the fresh air of freedom from all that oppresses the soul.

So I here I am again, dear Friend. Let your love surround and fill me. Then I’ll be free.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today’s text

John 8:31-32

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Reflection

And what truth will we know, Jesus? The truth that makes free.

That’s not how we think of truth. Truth is fearful for us. We cringe when someone says they are going to tell us the truth.

Too often, voices of truth tell us what we don’t want to know: things didn’t turn out well; the house needs expensive repair; there’s not enough money; the surgery wasn’t successful; we are sicker than we thought; someone has died.

The truth always holds threat for us. That’s the way it is for beings that are mortal and frail--and who know it.

We do not possess perfect control over what will happen to us today, let alone over other powers that affect us. We don’t control what can and does happen to our beloved, and often we can’t do a thing to help them when we most want to do so.

Even the hidden processes of our own bodies are beyond our reach. And one day they will betray us and stop our breath before we have figured out exactly how to be human.

And that’s another truth. We don’t really know. Oh, we try. We make best efforts, sometimes. But the task of becoming a human being takes a lifetime of concerted focus. And our focus wavers, and sometimes is just so easy to be less than a truly human being.

And that’s the truth.

So how can it be, my dearest Friend, that your truth sets free when so many other truths merely attest my bondage?

You don’t answer, telling me how. Your answer is where. Make your home in me, you say. Make your home in a love that knows your every bondage. Make your home here. Fear will cease; freedom will come.

Freedom comes as our souls are convinced that we rest in a love that never wavers or wanes, a love that never falters or fails, a love that will be there--knowable--on the very best and worst days of our life.

And far beyond.

So let me know this truth, dear Friend. When I know it I become almost human.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today’s text

John 8:31-32

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said: 'If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'

Reflection

The heart makes its home, somewhere. This has always been true, Jesus. There is always a place where our hearts try to make their beds.

The list of possible places is far too long to recount, dear Friend. I haven’t the energy to discover and list all the places in which my heart has sought its home.

For years, no, decades, my heart sought its home in the impressions I made on others, trying out one fa├žade or another. Why should I think that I could make myself more real by impressing others with insights or art, acts of courage or adventure, by appearing more caring or committed than I really am?

I don’t know, but I did. It’s crazy.

For reasons lost in childhood, hidden in my genes or in the tragedy of human fallenness, I imagined my reality was dependent upon the opinions of others--as if one’s real life resides in the impressions one can create in their minds.

It’s an illusion of course, and it enslaves millions. We recognize it when something points it out to us, but most of the time we are powerless to free ourselves from its grasp.

We go on trying to make ourselves what we are not, convincing others we are more real, intelligent, accomplished or important than we are--and fighting off slights to our self-respect and inflated egos. But all the time we know our secrets--and become less real with every word and action calculated for its affect on others.

There are innumerable ways we fashion homes in which to dwell--power, influence, wealth, status, intelligence, accomplishment or experience. We use them all to feather our psychic nests, as if we could settle in and feel at rest, at peace, at home, at last.

But ultimately, we cannot. They all fail us in one way or another, sooner or later. And the illusions we project drain us of energy until our life force is spent.

But you offer another way, dear Friend. Rest and home reside in you. You invite us to make our homes in your word, your truth, your reality, there to find the freedom of soul you alone give, the freedom that rests in your love alone.

The thought of it warms my heart. And my mind and body releases the tight grip I keep on myself and my public identity.

So this is freedom.

If so, let me make my home in your word, in your truth--in you. For beyond the ways and places I have sought to make a home for my heart, you are the place where I am truly welcome and finally free.

Pr. David L. Miller