Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today’s text

Matthew 1:18-23

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.' Now all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us'.


Your promise is always the same: Immanuel, God is with us.

Jesus, you are the sign of Immanuel, the flesh and blood mark of what is always true. You are the physical presence of the constant abiding of the One who knows no boundaries, the Mystery who is ever here, everywhere.

You invite me to enter the true state of things, to come out of illusion into the reality of Abiding Presence.

I may live as if life is what I make it. I may imagine that I am largely on my own on this green planet, save those nearest and dearest to me. I may dwell in the fantasy that I face my trials and sorrows alone and that my joys and small victories are shared only by those closest.

I may imagine, but imagining is not the reality that You Are. You Are everywhere I am and go. You Are grace that makes and savors life, my life with every true and false step on the way. You Are love embracing each moment of existence.

Your appearing in the arms of your mother and under the watchful vision of your confused earthly father speaks the truth I most need: Immanuel, God is with us.

In life and death: Immanuel. When I feel alone: Immanuel. When the load of my beloved is too heavy: Immanuel. When I am fail and sin: Immanuel.

Immanuel comes in a sign I can hold in my arms, with a tender face I can trace with my fingers.

He comes to save me from my sin, the most important of which is the big lie, the illusion that I live anywhere but in the presence of Immanuel.

Save me today. Make my heart dance to the music of Love ever near.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today’s text

Isaiah 35:4-6

Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees and say to the faint-hearted, 'Be strong! Do not be afraid. Here is your God, vengeance is coming, divine retribution; he is coming to save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy; for water will gush in the desert and streams in the wastelands, the parched ground will become a marsh and the thirsty land springs of water.


Our God comes not with vengeance but to restore sovereignty. Vengeance does not best capture the reality.

God is the power of deliverance at work in the universe. God’s delight is to save. God comes to reorder life, to set things right, to establish that God rules. God is the final and ultimate power over a cosmos that threatens to devolve into chaotic disorder.

The end is always joy. Sorrow may endure for an evening, but joy comes in the morning. This is the constant message, the profound hope that runs throughout all of Scripture. The reason is simple. This has been the experience of those who have looked and prayed for God’s deliverance in every age.

Deliverance may not come in the form we want. Our family struggles may not be resolved. Our cancer may not find healing. Death and pain may come to us and those we love.

But in the midst of human struggle, God comes.

That’s the message of hope to which we cling in all times. Joy starts the moment our souls begin to trust that God will come to deliver our souls from despair and dissolution.

Joy and strength do not return to reinvigorate our bodies when all we want or pray for finally happens. Our souls rise from dead when we are lifted by a simple, single truth: God comes to us and always will.

The living hope for appearance of the One who is the Power of Deliverance makes us strong in ways we doubt we could ever be. The strength we hold is not of our making, and it is more powerful than all that disfigures life and tempts to despair.

It lifts weak arms and troubled heads. It turns desert hearts into streams of living water. It gives silent souls songs to sing and moves lame legs to dance to the music of God’s future, which is life, always life.

Be strong. God shall come, and you will laugh.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today’s text

Isaiah 35:3-8

Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees and say to the faint-hearted, 'Be strong! Do not be afraid. Here is your God, vengeance is coming, divine retribution; he is coming to save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy; for water will gush in the desert and streams in the wastelands, the parched ground will become a marsh and the thirsty land springs of water; the lairs where the jackals used to live will become plots of reed and papyrus. And through it will run a road for them and a highway which will be called the Sacred Way; the unclean will not be allowed to use it; He will be the one to use this road, the fool will not stray along it.

The prophet speaks of the joy of returning home for a people long separated from the place they belong. This is one of the great stories of Hebrew Scripture, the deliverance return home of exiles.

I have seen the anguish of exile. As a journalist, I walked through refugee camps on more than one continent. The language, culture and skin color of the refugees were different in each case. But the single question on their lips was always the same: When can we go home?

Home may have been in shambles, ravaged by looting, bombs and fire. They may have known or suspected that their physical dwellings no longer existed. It didn’t matter. Their hearts’ desire was the same … home. I want to go home.

Every strange face of a journalist or aid worker was one more person to ask the sad question: When? Will it be soon?

I dreaded the question. I had no answer, and the answer I suspected might be accurate was depressing. I would shake my head, look at the ground and say, “No, not soon,” all the time wondering if the honest answer was, “not ever.”

Almost every person I met longed to return home. Their eyes said it without words, “I need to return to my place in the world, to the place I know, to the place that knows me. Until then, there is no peace.”

Such longing is the ground from which the prophet Isaiah’s joy springs. The land, the animals, all nature participates in the exiles’ joy as they walk the road home, a holy road that only the faithful could walk, only those who kept hope alive, only those who were not reduced to foolishness of despair by interminable waiting for a release they could never assume was coming.

When release comes all nature lights up with the joy of souls whose hearts’ delight is coming true. Such feeling is not unknown to us. We well know what happens in our hearts and in the entirety of our outlook when the sun comes out after a long or deep sadness.

The hopeful message is that God is the loving power of deliverance that seeks to bring us home to the joy for which we are intended, to the places we know and the places that know us, to our true home. Foolishness is failure to trust the good and gracious will of the One whose name is Deliverance.

I could speak of this as a physical coming home to a place we once knew or perhaps a place we never knew, until we stumbled into a somewhere that became a true home for us, after years of never really having a home.

Or we might speak of the home as the spiritual discovery that we have spent much of our lives wandering about, going places, doing work, living in ways that left our souls uneasy and dissatisfied.

There is a coming home, here, too, a return to the Love for which no name will do. When we begin to feel and know it’s stirring, our lame hearts leap in joy and streams of water flow in the wastelands of our hearts. And we know: This is the sacred way.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today’s text

Matthew 3:5-9

Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him [John the Baptist], and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.


Come as you are, beyond all presumption. That’s what I hear, and it’s a good word, one I need.

The day arrives, and I see opportunities that promise growth and goodness, but a sinking feeling wafts through me as my mind enters the possibilities. Entering the future I perceive means more work, more dedication, more than time or energy allows.

Quickly, I am cast back upon my limitations, knowing the strength of my abilities and will are not up to the tasks that I see as most crucial. I need help. I cannot stand alone. Others must stand with me.

This makes me part of a crowd to which I want to belong, the crowd of faceless and nameless souls who made their way to John and Baptist to confess their sins, their failures of will, nerve and goodness.

He did not refuse them. No shaming tone colored his voice as they came. We are told nothing of what he said to them, only that he received them willingly with acceptance, it appears. And he baptized them as a sign of their desire to change and be more fully given to God’s dream for their lives.

He thundered no anger or denunciation upon them. That was reserved for the entitled and presumptuous, those who imagined they didn’t need what John offered.

But what is that, and why does it still draw … me?

John called people to stand in the river shallows beside him, without or fear or shame. He invited them to put away all arrogance or presumption that they had life figured out or that they were any but human and needy.

Through John’s bluster and demand, a deep whisper echoes. “Come, bring what you are, your weakness and need, your failed attempts to fulfill the promise of your humanity. Come stand with me. There is a place for you here, and you will never be cast out.

“Come and taste the rule of heaven.”

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today’s text

Matthew 3:1-3

In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' This was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said: A voice of one that cries in the desert, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.'


For what should I repent? I can list a dozen things, but my heart is in none of them.

I really don’t want to change. I am attached to the way I live and see things. The thought of changing how I see (and pigeon-hole) people and situations is harder work than I care to do. I am comfortably stuck in patterns of living that feel better than any alternative, if only because I know them. They are my ruts, familiar and well-worn.

My heart knows I can’t change anyway. I am stuck with the same sadness and fears that long have hemmed in my life. As much as I want to be happier, stronger and less able to be hurt, nothing will change unless you change me, O Lord.

Fear holds me back, which proves that again that I am 100 percent human. Fear is always the root of our problems and sorrows, our hatreds and our resistance to grow into your dream of what our lives could be. There is no greater enemy.

Fear keeps us from letting down our guard to enter a new way of life, a new way of being. John the Baptist (Jesus, too) called it the kingdom of heaven, the administration of the heavenly king, a rule quite unlike governments we know.

John describes this kingdom as a threat to all that resists it. This new godly administration will violently wipe away everything that is contrary to its way.

I don’t think John got it right. He understood a new king, a new rule was coming, but he failed to grasp how radically different the rule of heaven is from anything we have ever known or felt.

God’s new kingdom strikes at the root of our problem: our fear of each other, our fear of being hurt, our fear of losing what we think we most need, the fear moves us to strike at others, the fear that stops us from opening our hearts and being truly human with each other so that we may grow into God’s dream for our lives.

The kingdom of heaven, unlike earthly kingdoms, rules not by force but through the persuasion of love. The king appears in the form of Jesus, our brother, inviting us to enter a circle of blessing. The mercy of forgiveness and unmerited grace pours through him from the heart of God, drawing us into a new arrangement of things where each passes along blessing and grace, receiving the same in return from others. The circle of blessing melts away our fears, whispering that the rejections and pains we feel, the threats to our life and health, the sorrows we know do not finally matter.

They don’t matter, for heaven rules, and heaven is this circle of blessing with neither beginning nor end. When you get caught up in this circle, in God’s kingdom--if only for a moment, you feel the freedom from fear that changes you from the inside out. You know: the circle of blessing is more real and powerful than anything you fear.

The kingdom of heaven is near, always. The only thing it threatens is your fear.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today’s text

Matthew 3:5-10

Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him [John], and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. 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.


Long ago an image appeared in my prayer, a tree. It stood in the back field behind my aunt’s home, across the street from where I went to grade school. A small yard surrounded her house, and then the land dropped precipitously to a narrow stream that cut across town from the northeast to the southwest, on its way to the Apple River.

In my meditation, I saw that tree, thick at the trunk, tall and strong, an oak or spreading maple. It rose from the grassy field around the creek, limbs stretching wide, its foliage so thick with wide green leaves that the sun could not reach the ground beneath it.

But there was no tree in that field behind my aunt’s home. It appeared only in my prayer. In the inner eye of heart, I saw people coming out of the sun to rest under the tree, finding shelter from the sun’s searing blast.

I did not go there. I was the tree. This was the desire of my heart and the call of God to me. Somehow I was to be that tree, a place of shade and rest from the heat of life. Souls could come and just be there, free from the wearing heat of the day, at home in the calm shade of grace, strong and unwavering as that tree.

That was--is--the good fruit that my Lord commands me to bear. It is written on my soul, and I cannot escape it. The voice of one’s inner purpose can get drowned out amid the noisy distractions of living. We can ignore it. We can pretend God’s call is romantic nonsense.

But (I think) it never goes away. It is always there amid the myriad voices in one’s mind. It stirs feelings of restlessness and longing when we move too far from it, and it calls us home through that nebulous, vague sense that somewhere along the line we have lost something important--ourselves, the core of what the Loving Mystery has written on our hearts. As long as that voice niggles deeply in us we are not totally lost; we can still hear our Lord speaking, calling us to peace.

I don’t know if the Pharisees and Sadducees felt this niggling any longer or if they had ignored the calling of Spirit in their lives for so long that that their ears could no longer hear. They were trees of God’s shelter for the people, and John was calling them back to themselves, calling them to produce the fruit of blessing, help and hope for which they had been fashioned.

As harsh as John’s voice sounded in their ears, I hear also a call of grace from the wounded heart of God, and a promise: God will cut down that which doesn’t bear fruit. There is much too much in me that needs cutting down and clearing away so that this one tree, the one in my aunt’s grassy field, may grow strong again.

John’s harsh message sounds like grace to me.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today’s text

Colossians 1:15-16

He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, thrones, ruling forces, sovereignties, powers -- all things were created through him and for him.


Formless substance passes through you and becomes a world, a universe of relationships and order, purpose and beauty. No, I say, more: Substance itself flows from within the Mystery you are into surprising existence.

All is made in you, an expression of your own life, of you who are Life, the flowing fountain of Being. All passes from and through you, bearing the gift of existence because you will it; you want it.

It is your nature that life should be, that the substance of your hidden heart, the content of your all-surpassing mind should be shared with that which doesn’t yet exist, so that it may exist.

This tells me all I need to know of your nature. You live to give life, to make life, to share the Mystery which you are so that we and every twig and tree in the stark autumnal woods should be.

So the face of my brother, Jesus, shouldn’t surprise, the face of one given, of one who loves his own and loves them to the end, whose heart is fixed on healing a world that threatens at every point to separate from the Source (you) from which it springs eternally every moment.

He is the Image of the Eternal Giver, the face of the Eternally Given, and the life we are is, too.

Words fail. I have none to capture the mystery of what I see and feel. My hopeless meanderings of thought cannot corral the wonder you are.

I stand in awe, constant and holy wonder knowing that all I see--and am--flows from the hiddenness of your divine being, each an expression, a clue to the Mystery of every age: Who are you? From what do we--and all life--spring?

You are the all-generous Source who gives life to what is not. I am that which is not life, given life as holy gift.

It is your nature to give. It is your work to create life, life that shares in your nature, your image in multifarious manner and expression.

You are giver, and you are gift, the gift we have simply by existing. By existing we are alive with the life of you, O Infinite Source, Flowing Fountain, Unceasing Generosity.

This is how I name you, words of praise for you whom I have no chance of ever understanding. May my overwhelmed wonder and tortured prose praise you.

It’s all I’ve got.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today’s text

Ephesians 1:17

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him.


I fell into a pattern of prayer more than a year ago that continues to appear from time to time. I was writing a small book when I first noticed I kept returning to a particular phrase.

I did not want the book to flow from my mind, but from a deeper and truer place in my being. I wanted to experience oneness with the words and ideas that flowed from the end of my fingers, so that there was no distance, no separation between what appeared on the page and what I felt within.

The words needed to express what my soul knew by way of deepest feeling and intuition. So, each morning I knelt in the place of my writing and prayed: “May I hear the voice within the voice that renders all other voices irrelevant.”

I sought that voice that speaks within my own being that, when I hear it, all else flees my heart, all anxiety and uncertainty, all other truth and awareness.

Following this prayer, I would write.

I do not know if I can describe the sensation or awareness that frequently arose from within me in this process of putting fingers to the keys. I always knew when the words were forced, coming from mere thought and not from some hidden point within me where my spirit and the divine spirit rested comfortably within each other, abiding.

I could feel it. I knew when the words where right, and when they were clever ideas but not the expression of that deeper voice. When I heard it I did not need to ask whether the words were true, for they resonated with the calm of a grace-filled love that filled the soul with the sublime sweetness of utter peace, often with tears.

In such moments, the voice I heard within, the voice that spoke back to me from the computer screen, was so much greater than my own, more calm, utterly certain and unperturbed.

Yet, it was my own voice, speaking divine wisdom and truth through my experiences and struggles, which had become the medium for the voice of the Loving Mystery who was pleased to join divine Spirit with my frail and mortal spirit … to speak.

And, I think, this prayer of Ephesians was answered: “May … the Father of glory give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him.”

There was a voice inside of my own to which I listened. It spoke wisdom I do not possess and gave knowledge, however full, of the Unimaginable One, of you my Lord, Holy and Loving Mystery.

In that time, nothing else mattered. All other voices were irrelevant. All that mattered was hearing, listening, feeling and speaking from the point of soul where my spirit and your own merged into a single speaking of total love for a crazy world … and for me.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today’s text

Jeremiah 31-34

'Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not like the covenant I made with their ancestors the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, even though I was their Master, Yahweh declares. No, this is the covenant I shall make with the House of Israel when those days have come, Yahweh declares. Within them I shall plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people. There will be no further need for everyone to teach neighbor or brother, saying, "Learn to know Yahweh!" No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest, Yahweh declares, since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind.'

They will all know me.

What is it to know you, Holy One? How can I say that I know you any more than the squirrels scampering across the patio can know me?

They bark curses at me when I rake up their autumnal bounty or startle them. Standing off, they assume a belligerent stance, protecting their turf, ready at my slightest twitch to scurry up the backyard birch, toenails ripping through peeling bark.

Do they know me? I suppose, but only as the alien who invades and occupies their space from time to time--and only as threat, a beast of which to be wary.

But they don’t know me any more, I suppose, than I can know you.

But somewhere and somehow I have come to faint knowledge that you are not threat, though you are always alien to me.

No, maybe you are a threat. You threaten the understanding of life and self that I fall into every time I think I am alone, every time I feebly imagine that life is only what I make of it, that we are cast-offs here on this minuscule but oh-so-wondrous planet.

And you are as alien to me as I to my squirrels, as they keep sentry over the bonanza summer’s sun has yielded, sustenance for winter’s long cold.

You are alien because you are love and unending mercy, who casts my failures and sins into the deep from which they shall never reappear. My soul is alien to such love, or is it?

Even now I know a love--for myself, for this beautiful earth and for this screwed-up rat race of a world where fear and callous meism moves so much of what we do.

Even now, I love it, and I love it with a love that is here, in me, alien though it is, for it is born of higher and infinite heart, so far beyond my own that I am reduced to the status of the squirrels.

Yet, it is your pleasure that I should know this moment, this love … you, … and fulfill again, your promise.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today’s text

Psalm 84:2-3

My whole being yearns and pines for Yahweh's court. My heart and my body cry out for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its young: your altars, Yahweh Sabaoth, my King and my God.


The place of your presence is hope, my abode, my home. So why do I wander so far, driven by forces, from within and without, that I neither understand nor command?

I long for home. Bring me to that inner palace where I feel and know myself surrounded by eternal arms of unfailing mercy.

Even now, through the grayness, this home calls me to my heart’s desire. I see, within my hidden soul, a life, my life, surrounded in the darkness by your embracing presence, a watery cushion conformed to the contours of my life, lest any part of me slip beyond the divine circle of your care, constant and silent, ever there.

And I lie within your constant silence, an orb, an ellipse of life within your Love, and within myself stretches a child, arms and eyes reaching for daylight; an infant within, waiting to be born.

It lives. It is me, O Lord, that deepest element of the life that I am, awaiting full birth into whatever glory your divine DNA encoded into the mystery of my life.

I see all this, clearly, yet my soul is a wandering vagabond, coursing the earth and despairing days as if it has no home, no identity except that assigned to it by others, some in care others not.

And all the while, this inner palace awaits my return, calling to me, whispering my name--the one I forget--until I return to the one place where I may know the joy of the sparrow upon her nest.

So with these few words I step toward home, the inner palace where all that matters is you and me in the secret silence, where I am born … anew.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Today's text

John 14:1-3

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you,and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am.


It is important to know your place.

Everything Sunday morning a ritual is acted out on the step at the front of our sanctuary. Readings from the Bible are read, and children are invited forward to sit on this step to hear the children’s sermon.

Children rush … they run forward to beat me to this step because I have a place, my place, right there in the middle. But I am too slow. They beat me to it. They look at me and giggle.

I try to squeeze in, and they push their skinny butts together so that I can squeeze in. But I can't, so I must sit on the floor in front of them. This is my place they tell me.

So I sit on the floor and talk to children, as they line up on that step and sit with me. In mock anger,I shake my finger at them and say, “You’re in my place.” But they just laugh … because they are in their place. It belongs to them, and they know it.

We are all in our place: We belong there. We are safe there; we are wanted there … and cherished. So we tell stories and laugh, and they make fun of me, and between the lines of all that happens we realize how much we love each other.

And the love that we share there, sitting together, is not ours, but flows from the reservoir of an infinite love that draws and holds us together.

Whether the congregation knows it or not, whether they see and recognize it or not, whether they have ears to hear what is happening, we are a living sacrament, sitting right there before them. We act out and make present the central truth of our lives. The truth: There is a love that is for us, a love that always has a place for us, a place with our name on it.

Right there on those steps … heaven appears. The love of Jesus enfolds us and silently whispers in our ears: 'You belong. You belong to me. In my love there is a place just for you … and it is yours forever.'

This day, O Lord, let us know our place.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 18:1

Then Jesus told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. 'There was a judge in a certain town,' he said, 'who had neither fear of God nor respect for anyone. In the same town there was also a Widow who kept on coming to him and saying, "I want justice from you against my enemy!" For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, "Even though I have neither fear of God nor respect for any human person, I must give this widow her just rights since she keeps pestering me, or she will come and slap me in the face." ' And the Lord said, 'You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?'


A comic appeared in last Sunday’s paper, a single frame. A thick, muscled arm descends from a cloud, setting an enormous elbow on the ground. A huge hand extends to a stump where a small person grasps that hand and says, “On the count of three.”

There was nothing funny about the cartoon. I suppose the artist sought to comment on the lunacy of arm wrestling with God, “on the count of three” or any other count.

But such contests are not quickly over and done as the drawing suggests. They go on … and should.

Oh, we lose every skirmish. We are not going to wrestle God to the ground and demand whatever it is that we want.

But in the struggle with God we might find ourselves in the presence of a Mystery worthy of our worship, a mystery who in the end is Love, even when our heart’s desire doesn’t happen, even when what we fear becomes the bitter crust of our reality.

It is not uncommon for me to sit with souls who rail again heaven for the injustice and pain in their lives. Often as not, heaven has nothing to do with their pain, which has obvious causes closer to home.

Even then, we want what we want, an end to pain, relief from threats to those we love and healing from whatever illness, misfortune or just plain bad luck that makes life hard.

“Step in God. I demand that you do something about this. I’m talking to you God.”

For the strong ones, the blessed ones, the fight against heaven doesn’t soon end. They persevere. They press on, pressing home the justice of their cause, their honest need for blessing and relief from their unending run of miserable luck.

Blessed are they, for you, my most holy Lord, are real to them, even when your silence brings them pain.

Blessed are they, for they will wrestle with you (losing every skirmish) until the mystery of your love breaks their heart, and they stand, like Job, before the inscrutable chances of life, blessing you for being a God who refuses to be reduced to our size.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September, 23, 2010

Finding joy

I don’t think I ever met a child I didn’t like, at least a little.

I love the playful innocence of children who make fun of me during children’s sermons. I love the unfiltered connection between what they feel and what they say.

I love feeling the brand new tender life of infants. I love the wonder and openness of four-year olds discovering the world. I love the spontaneity and fidgety energy of third-graders who can barely keep their butts attached to a chair.

And I want to bless them all.

This is biggest reason I love children: They elicit the deepest beauty and care that is in me. When I am with them I become the love that I am. They draw from my soul the best that is in me.

I feel their acute need to know that they belong, and I ache for them to feel treasured for what they are--irreplaceable expressions of life who is Life. Each enters the world a craving center of near-infinite need, crying out for blessing.

I want to supply that blessing. Truth is, however, I also want to do it for myself. For in blessing them I discover in my heart the One who is Blessing Himself.

God is this energy, this gravity who continually draws me to people and places I can love so that my heart may bring forth whatever hidden decency and beauty might yet be there.

This is all average, of course. This is how God works. This is how human beings are.

We are made for blessing. We crave it, needing to bless someone else just as much, if our lives are to know the joy that God intends.

This is why I find so much joy at baptisms. It’s why baptism is one of the two most sacred acts of the church’s communal life. We are drawn into the central activity of God--blessing tender and fragile life, there to see who God is and for what we are made.

It’s not just that we bless a child with the infinite grace of an unimaginable Love. Together, we also engage in an action in which we act out the central purpose of our life and discover the place where lasting joy is found.

We bless a human soul with a love we can’t begin to understand, only to discover that this unsurpassable love is also in us--and that joy is found in blessing.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, September 06, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 15:1-2

The tax collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to him, and the Pharisees and scribed complained saying, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'


Tell me, Jesus. How did your church become narrow and judgmental? You weren’t, and you paid a high price for your failure.

Deep unrest roils the souls of many U.S. Christians and churches. They are exercised by the imperative to protect the country and its children from the perils of gays or liberals or Islam and even from quieter Christians who are less adamant (or convinced) of such moral judgments.

Ironically, so many who fill the pews of American congregations have more in common with the Pharisees than with you. Right and wrong, good and bad, holy and secular are precisely parsed in their souls--one to be avoided the other embraced.

That’s what the Pharisaic spirit does, and it appears n every age, faith and society. But it is uniquely bothersome when it’s found among those who confess your name. They should known better

You embraced the secular, the bad, the wrong, a host of messy souls who populated the wrong side of the social divide. You didn’t tell them to go take a shower before they got too close.

And they liked you, too. They elbowed each other out of the way to hear what you said. They leaned close lest a stray word drop ungathered in the dust.

They wanted what was in you: the radiating Spirit of divine welcome that does not judge but draws into the gravity of an all-possessing love.

I have felt that welcome and long for it the more. Moments appear when we stand near a soul in whose presence all pretense fades, all concerns of judgment or rejection disappear. Soul encounters soul. Communion occurs, and self-consciousness flees like a lost dream upon awakening.

The life of needing to being judged and judging others--also ourselves--is the dream (the nightmare) that disappeared in those messed-up souls. It fled your presence.

So they flocked to you, seeking to be with you--soul to soul--divine welcome and human neediness wrapped up in a single embrace.

Yes, it’s true. The dream--the nightmare--of judgment is a human fiction, created from the need of threatened selves to imagine that some of us are better than others. Some are to be feared and kept out lest they spoil the lot.

Bu tin your presence, Jesus-- enfolded in that single embrace, illusion disappears in the warmth of morning light that drives off the shadows of night, and we see: the judgment of He who is Love is all that matters.

Only messed-up souls can know this, so they come to you, not the Pharisees, as do I.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 13:10-13

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.


I see no hesitation in you, Jesus.

You do not wait for her to ask for anything. You do not question her to check out whether she is good or worthy. You do not look for signs of faith or wonder if she is looking for God’s kingdom.

You do not know if she is a gentle soul or whether all that she has suffered has made her bitter and nasty, a scourge on the village whom everyone avoids.

The condition of her heart at this moment seems of no concern to you.

Your concern is singular: she must be set free.

All that matters is your mission, carrying out your work so that another kingdom, another way of being appears and beckons us to enter.

The way of your kingdom makes us nervous because it obliterates our judgments. We judge the worthiness of a human life by many measures, some known to us, many more utterly unconscious. Some we call good; others we reject.

That is not your way.

You do not walk the path of judgment and condemnation. Despite centuries of misunderstandings and misrepresentations the church has taught, you are not into guilt. You are not the Acme Judgment Company.

You are in the setting free business. You make things whole again, releasing bodies and souls from the bitter pains that enslave them so that they--that we, that I--might live free from all that prevents me from being human, graced and gracious.

That’s why you do not ask whether I or this crippled woman is deserving of your care. It is irrelevant.

All that matters is that we be set free and enter a way of being where judgments don’t count, even our judgments upon ourselves, because you have named us all beloved, leaving no place for guilt or deserving.

Such is the desire of your divine heart, a desire made clear when you heal and bless without request.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 12:32-34

'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. 'Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.'


Recently, I was accused of employing a “heavy political and one-sided lens through which [I] have presented the ill-conceived ‘social gospel’ from the pulpit.”

Initially, I was profoundly angry and disgusted, not to mention surprised. I could more easily have been accused of being an unreformed German pietist who over-spiritualizes the gospel and is too little concerned with its social and political implications.

For the past decade, my ministry emphasis has been on personal spirituality and prayer, discernment and meditation, the knowing of God with heart and soul that relies less on the mind than on inner experience and intuition. I have studied, spoke and written hundreds of thousands of words about the teaching of great spiritual teachers of the Western Christian tradition.

Being accused of following an ill-conceived ideology rankled me. It also made me wonder if the person making the charge understood the term he was using, not to mention the deeply Christian convictions of the movement he used to insult me.

The social gospel movement was Protestant in origin and became prominent in the late 19th early 20th centuries. Proponents applied Christian ethics to social problems, such as social injustices, inequality, liquor, crime, racial tensions, slums, poverty, bad hygiene, child labor, weak labor unions, poor schools and the danger of war.

The movement encouraged people to be involved with the world’s problems, analyzing and responding to them from perspectives rooted in their Christian convictions.

A few of the movement’s theological beliefs were far too optimistic and died in the trenches of WWI. Most notably, some movement founders taught that human beings by their own efforts could build the kingdom of God and usher in the millennium.

But the influence of the movement outlived its founder’s optimism and helped shape significant events in the 20th century, such as women’s suffrage, the fight against poverty and the civil rights movement. The soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr., ringing with the language of Jesus and the prophets, reflects the deepest instincts of the social gospel movement.

The hunger and poverty ministries of major church bodies and many Christian organizations such as Lutheran World Relief and Feed my Starving Children also bear witness to the way this movement raised the consciousness of Christians in North America, even among believers who did not accept some of the theological baggage of its original founders.

Reflecting on this history, my anger fades, and I realize that I stand among good company: the company of Christians who seek to take their beliefs out of the sanctuary to address suffering and injustice, the company of those who don’t rush by Jesus’ warnings about the dangers of wealth … or his words about justice for the poor.

Sometimes the compatriots in this company have been right and helpful to the entire church and the broader society; sometimes they have been naïve and not well informed: just like the church in this and every age since Jesus.

And it is to Jesus that I return each day, listening for the assurance that urges me to trust that the Father cares so much for me that I can throw off my self-concerned worries and seek God’s love and justice for those who need.

I urge you to do the same. You will find good company, the company of Jesus.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today’s text

Psalm 33:20-22

We are waiting for Yahweh; he is our help and our shield, for in him our heart rejoices, in his holy name we trust. Yahweh, let your faithful love rest on us, as our hope has rested in you.


I wait for you, My God. Impatiently, I wait. Come and lift the burden of past days’ sadness that I may again rejoice with uplifted heart in freedom of spirit.

I have no will or power in my soul to lift myself beyond grayness. I do not even want release, not if it requires much energy for me. I have no effort to give.

My soul is hostage. Only my fingers can move and pray. My soul cannot lift itself above the chair.

So come to me through my fingers. Let my hands become the media of your presence, the path of your approach.

Use them to surprise me, to break through sad helplessness. Move them to find the right words, the precise sound needed to startle my soul into life, my will into action that, I, with you, may fight through this gloom of soul and find the joy of your saints.

I am not alone here. You come, even through fingers. Who knew fingers could form tears of relief and release?

Many. All who have felt the gloom, bore the sadness of the hour and found you, sitting and waiting in the depths, expecting them--now me--to show up. Just sitting there … and smiling.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 12:16-21

Then he told them a parable, 'There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, "What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops." Then he said, "This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time." But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?" So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.'


‘The demand will be made for your soul.’ It sounds grave, the facing of death. Truth is the demand for one’s soul occurs daily.

It is a banal occurrence. It happens quietly in the course of the common and average. The demand for our soul is whispered in each encounter with every person in all circumstances. Most often we fail to hear it.

The manner in which we meet the final demand for our soul, when we face our demise, depends entirely upon on whether we have heard and responded to this whisper--and sought the wealth of God’s unfailing presence.

So what is the condition of my soul, O Lord? How well am I? Am I ready for what comes this day?

Has this soul of mine spent enough time encircled in your Loving Mystery? Have I found freedom rapt in the awareness of your love, or do I dwell in the anxiety of my fears and inadequacies?

Is my soul harried with many things, or do I know myself, my center, the core of being from which you want me to speak and act? Can I live with purpose moving deliberately amid the daily and distracting, able to pause, give, bless, laugh and listen?

The rich man sought his life in wealth and ignored the condition of his soul, dying in poverty. He’d starved the one thing he could take with him.

I know his name: Average. He is the average American. He is me … and most of those among whom I live and move. We are not evil, just busy, and often as not we are wholly out of tune with the condition of our souls. Until, of course, big challenges come, and our souls are demanded of us.

Then we know, and we regret our neglect and wish we’d done something more, paid attention, spent our time a differently, so that we knew how to touch and find the immovable rock of your loving life at the center of our souls.

The day to become rich is this one, now. And God is eager to give the wealth of the kingdom to those who come with empty hands and a willing heart.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 12:13-15

A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.' He said to him, 'My friend, who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?' Then he said to them, 'Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.'


Why are you here, Jesus? You clearly grasp the reason that resides at the core of your being and the nature of your life.

Settling family squabbles over money and possessions has no interest to you. You are not defined from the outside, by what others want or expect. Frustrating the expectations and perceived needs of those who came to you doesn’t bother you.

You are not anxious about pleasing them or winning them over with a wise word or felicitous answer to their query.

You quickly dismisses the role of arbiter or judge and frustrates the desire of those you might have “won over’ with a wise or pleasing answer.

I don’t think you go out of your way to trouble or annoy people, although there are other stories in the Bible where it appears that you are dong exactly this. Not here.

Here you are clear that settling fights or offering an equitable solution to a family problem is an annoying distraction that you brush away like a pesky fly.

You knew this did not connect with the substance of your being, the depth of your soul.

Your soul was focused on life, what brings it, what takes it away, of what life consists.

And it certainly doesn’t consist of most of the things on which we spend much of our time and substance.

I think that is at the core of frustration for me on some days. When the day is done I wonder: how much of this day flows from the depth of my soul, from deepest loves and convictions?

How much of it truly satisfies the heart because it comes from or leads to my deepest loves--and the Deep Love who holds me?

How much is done to satisfy expectations or desires foisted on me from the real or perceived expectations of others, expectations I sometimes take on even when they distract from the deepest substance of my soul, from being the person I am, the one you call me to be?

Today, Jesus, let me be true to the substance of my soul. I hunger to be so clear about my reason for being as are you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 11:1

Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'


Teach us to pray. The request is simple and unadorned. The desire beneath it is anything but. It arises from a morass of feeling and intuition that is as ancient as the human soul.

God speaks life into existence and from the depth of that life sounds an echo searching for its Source, knowing it is the child of an unknown immensity, craving to touch, to feel, to move in seamless rhythm with that from which it comes and to which it belongs, and there, finally, to find its peace.

The desire to pray is the restless heart’s hunger to know the mystery of its own life, of what and for what it is made--and to taste how dearly it is treasured by the Immensity to whom it owes its existence.

There is no rest until the soul echoes the voice of its Loving Maker, and the sound of that echo resonates in harmony with the Creator’s voice, so that the soul feels encompassed in the immensity of a love, a mercy it can never fully know.

It is in this resonance of prayer that I know you Holy One, and all my anxious worries and questions fall silent.

I understand your friend’s simple question, “Teach us to pray.” It is the searching echo of your search for us; it is the divine hunger within that my life should dwell fully within your immensity, moving in perfect harmony with the love you are.

I do not choose to want this. Your loving word fashioned such desire into our souls. You speak us into existence, and depth of soul echoes its answers. Prayer is that echo.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Today’s text

Colossians 1:9-10

That is why, ever since the day he told us, we have never failed to remember you in our prayers and ask that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will and so be able to lead a life worthy of the Lord, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects, bearing fruit in every kind of good work and growing in knowledge of God … .


I wonder if any idea has been more misunderstood and abused than that of “the will of God.”

Millions of lives and myriad gallons of blood have been sacrificed to this idol in unnecessary and idiotic wars, to say nothing of programs of ethnic and religious cleansing carried out in God’s name.

When someone utters the phrase “will of God” in conversation, I hear echoes of puritanical preaching and sense the shadow of a great juggernaut hanging over our heads, ready to fall from the hand of a God who is eager to squash poor sinners for their peccadilloes.

At the very least, the phrase conjures up the notion of unpleasant and painful fates to which we must acquiesce and bear with stoic patience. They are “the will of God” don’t you know. Ours is not to question why.

Perhaps I overstate, but in most cases I feel the “will of God” presented as a power that stands over and against me, not for me, making me wonder who this God is and why I should love or serve such an arbitrary force.

But I do, however poorly, because the bitter and cruel nonsense attributed to God’s will is so far removed the knowledge of God of which I have but a pittance. But I am thankful for the meager knowledge I have been given.

It comes not from thick books but from the intuition of love that flows through the heart whenever I consider Jesus and the experience of those who first knew and believed the truth he is.

They found freedom and joy bubbling up in them, moving them to acts of generosity and great hospitality. Knowledge of God and God’s will did not move them to fear or to rail against infidels. It moved them to deeper humanity and grace.

Their knowledge was not the dusty concepts of books but of a love that abided and held them. They knew this love and the hope it stirs, and it enabled truest humanity and joyous purpose for which they sacrificed, even their lives.

Such lives are worthy of you, Holy One. They are the embodiment of your life, inspired by true knowledge of who you are and what you desire for us and from us.

Some claim knowledge of you and your will, but their knowledge doesn’t inspire love. They are still in the dark.

‘Knowledge’ that doesn’t inspire love is darkness.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Today’s text

Colossians 1:3-4

We give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, continually in our prayers, ever since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show towards all God's holy people because of the hope which is stored up for you in heaven.


Love through hope: that is the sequence, and it stirs both hope and skepticism in me this morning.

You call us to yourself, Holy One, promising a love that outstrips every other we know or seek. Falling into the Love you are, our souls fly open, no longer grasping at life but relishing all we see and touch as a gift from your open hand.

Knowing you stirs hope that all our days will be immersed in the grace that transports our souls in moments your love frees us from gray despondency.

This land of grayness has been my home in recent days. More than anything it is the church that confines me there.

I need to feel the love hope stirs in your holy people, as you call us. But are we really?

I find too much, that is not love, that doesn’t reflect the holy presence of the love you awaken in depth of soul when we know that we eternally belong to your gracious care.

The hope stored up for us has not so impressed itself on our busy, distracted hearts that its seed can grow into the love that I need to find, if I am to escape the land of grayness.

Disappointed, I often turn from the church in despair, distancing myself from the people and place that first taught me that I have a soul and that every grace points to that Source for whom I yearn for union.

I turn from the home that long has pointed me toward Home, the people who at their best have been a sacrament of your welcome. I turn from those I need, disappointed that they cannot love any better than I can--or sometimes not nearly as much.

Can we, who are distracted, too busy and often apathetic and callous, bear the love you awaken in your people in so many other times and places?

I am skeptical, yet I hope. Mine is a fearing hope that wonders if we can truly be your people, brimming with the love you are, awakened by the hope that we are forever yours.

Remind us again that we are forever yours. Perhaps, today, we will listen … and learn to love.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today’s text

Isaiah 65:1

I have let myself be approached by those who did not consult me. I have let myself be found by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am!' to a nation that did not invoke my name.

I seek you, my Lord. Yet, my seeking is wane and weak. So much gets in the way, blocking the path, and I let it happen.

And still you seek my heart; still you haunt my mind; still you call in my restlessness, stirring me in the hunger I cannot satisfy, the yearning that knows no fulfillment.

I know where fulfillment lies. It rests hidden in the moment of mercy, the exquisite timelessness when nothing matters but your enveloping love.

In that blessed time--in that time alone, I know you. All other knowledge fades to beige in the bright light of Presence, and the completeness of your love completes my soul, rendering irrelevant everything else that I think I know.

I have lived too long and too far removed from the time of knowledge, but even now in the nagging and longing of an unsatisfied heart I feel you. I hear you calling, ‘Hear I am. Right here!”

You wave your arms in my hunger. You shout aloud in my yearning. You beckon me to come home and to find you who are eager to be found.

For I am never lost to you, no matter how far I wander from the places of true knowledge where you are all and all is in you.

And you find me again, even here and definitely now.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 8:26-28

They came to land in the territory of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. He was stepping ashore when a man from the city who was possessed by devils came towards him; for a long time the man had been living with no clothes on, not in a house, but in the tombs. Catching sight of Jesus he gave a shout, fell at his feet and cried out at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I implore you, do not torture me.'

Sanity, reason, hope, healing--that is why you come, Jesus, not to exact torture on a world bent on forgetting its Source, its Creator, its purpose.

You come to us to restore us to our right mind, for much of the time we live insane lives in one way or another.

There is no apparent end to the variety of ways we lose our minds. The old prophet, Isaiah, asked the operative question: “Why do you spend your money on that which is not food, on what does not satisfy?”

Like children finding their voice, we insist on finding and going our own way, thinking that autonomy, independence is the highest human expression. But we do so ignoring the markers of what it is to be human.

We seek ourselves in our fun, in lives overburdened with activities, in work, success or the obsession with making and having and doing enough. We cram every possible minute with some activity or another.

And often we wonder why our bodies and minds are restless; why do the ways we invest our hours do not totally delight the heart and leave us at peace, at rest?

Since we are insane, we scheme to find what we are missing and make plans to do more of the kinds of things we are already doing, expecting different results, the very definition of insanity.

Why have you come to us, Jesus?

Not to torture a confused and harried race, not to exact punishment for forgetting who we are or for ignoring our need to know the One who put us here. Not at all.

You come to restore our sanity that comes only when we listen to you, when we know you, when we hear the voice of a love that enters our insanity with a quiet word of mercy.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 7:36-39

One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee's house and took his place at table, suddenly a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what sort of person it is who is touching him and what a bad name she has.'


You did not care, Jesus. You are unfazed by the tension that charged the air.

The irony is that the one who criticized you for being no prophet knew nothing of prophecy. If he had, he would have known that what glorifies God is mercy to the poor, the widow, the outcast, the alien. He would have understood that the Holy One desires mercy not sacrifice, compassion not self-righteousness.

But faith for him was a matter of division--separating the clean from the unclean, the divine from the common, the holy from the unholy, the righteous from the unrighteous.

Draw lines and stay on the ‘right side’ and all is well. Cross the line and you enter the disfavor of God and the rejection of those who know better.

His religion was a tool of prejudice, rejection, arrogance and self-aggrandizement. It was a device to lift him above the common run of men and women.

His understanding was a tool of detachment, with which he kept humanity’s crying needs at arms length, pretending he was not as needy or vulnerable as the woman weeping at your feet, Jesus.

It’s an attitude with which we are most familiar. We turn on the television and see CEOs and politicians able to accept anything except responsibility for their errors, failures and shortsightedness. Masters of the universe--then and now--are quite alike. Image control is always at the front of their minds.

Of course, denying one’s humanity and frailty is a sure way to fan mistrust, destroy relationships--and avoid receiving anything from you.

For the face you turned to the world showed little concern for purity or image control. You had nothing to give to those living the illusion of their mastery of life.

You were and are a paradigm of the prophetic faith of Isaiah and others before you who were consumed by the incomprehensible mercy and grandeur of the God who transcends our every thought and attempt to understand.

Faith in the face you reveal has nothing to do with drawing lines or separating oneself from impurity. It is about trusting an unspeakable mercy and loving each other in the holy fellowship of gratitude for what we will never fathom.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 7:12-16

Now when [Jesus] was near the gate of the town there was a dead man being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her and said to her, 'Don't cry.' Then he went up and touched the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, 'Young man, I tell you: get up.' And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and glorified God saying, 'A great prophet has risen up among us; God has visited his people.'


The moment of reunion most moves me in this story. I can see it. Jesus stands beside the litter where the widow’s dead son had lain.

The young man stands between him and the widow, as Jesus, hand on his shoulder, moves him gently toward his astonished mother.

I do not see her face, but I feel her amazement in that split section before startled disbelief turns to exhilaration. And I feel my own tears at the pathos of the moment when the lost is returned and life is restored, not just to the young man but also to his mother.

This scene is frozen in time that I may leisurely take it in and know its meaning, a meaning that is better known by heart than mind. So I listen to my tears to hear what they say about human longing (or at least mine) and about the mystery of God.

What do I desire? What do I, like the widow, need returned to me by the One called Lord, because he has the power over life and death?

The widow surely enfolded her son in her arms and felt the life restored to his body. Surely, she wept, reunited with the one she most needed and wanted for her to know joy and the protection of a loved one.

The lonely silence of a too-quiet house and an empty soul was broken apart by happy tears in the presence of love personified. And she stepped into the arms of love personified: no, not the love of her child alone, but an incarnation of the love that she didn’t need to hold … because this is a love that holds her.

Stepping into her son’s arms, she stepped into the Love who seeks the soul on every day of every street. In this precious moment, she felt and knew beyond all the shadows of all doubts that Love who is Lord, the power of life who brings life from our every death.

I want to know what she knew. I want that love to melt away every sadness and still all anxiety. I want to step into the arms of love personified in every encounter and relationship.

I hunger for days and places this is real, and I grow weary when the joy of the woman is nowhere in sight, when life is more like a sad march to the grave than a celebration of reunion with my heart’s desire

That’s my want. But then it is what God wants, too.

My want--so average and human--is not different from the desire of the divine heart. It is a mirror image of what God wants to give every day, and especially on days we trudge along as if to a cemetery, instead of to a great party of life and love that is without end.

Restore to us the joy we lose, Lord of Life. This day, may we step into personifications of your love present on our way.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 7:11-13

It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. Now when he was near the gate of the town there was a dead man being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her and said to her, 'Don't cry.'


She had every reason to cry. A widow without a son to care for her was bereft. She had no means of economic support and no one to care for her in her old age.

Her son’s death condemned her to a life of loneliness, scraping by on the handouts of others in a community that would treat her as an object of God’s disfavor--and their own. You can almost hear the tongues wag.

“She is about as low as you can get.”

“I heard she was difficult to get on with.”

“They say she didn’t treat her family well.”

“And now they’re gone.”

Nothing like this ever happens today, of course. We are much more compassionate than ancient societies that treated widows as disfavored by God. Nor do we cut ourselves off from those who suffer great loss and grief, or those who suffer from mental illness, or from the loss of job or foreclosure, or from other tragedies. Right?

A deep repellent force within us resists getting too close to suffering and misfortune. We may say, “I don’t know what to say to her,” but most of the time this is cover for deeper psychological reactions we don’t understand.

Most of those reactions spring from fear of vulnerability. Even the idea that we need to know what to say comes from that fear. We want to be in control and being with those who suffer reminds us that we are not.

Being with those who grieve, who are caught up in irresolvable dilemmas and pain reminds us that it could be us, and we resist that awareness. We don’t want to see it, for to see it shakes us into the undeniable reality that we are mortal.

In our society talking about death, about one’s mortality is an obscenity, something that is not done in polite company--or perhaps in any company.

But there are those among us who run into burning houses, so to speak. They do not shy from the grief of the mourner, the struggle of the cancer patient, the fear of those for whom the future impends threat.

And there are parts of our fearful souls that want to be involved, that want to care, that may even want to say with Jesus, “Don’t cry. I am here.”

Those parts of our souls are inhabited by the Spirit of Jesus. His Spirit is not hard to recognize. It is the desire to care, the yearning to live beyond the safety of our walls, the craving to become the compassion we feel in depths of our soul that we too seldom visit.

That Spirit is known in the hope that the touch of Jesus will also raise us when our life is slipping away. And it continues to say, “Don’t cry. Grace is here … and life. No matter what.

Pr David L. Miller

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today’s text

John 16:13-14

However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine.


I shy away from any notion that I can possess “complete truth.” How can my finite mind and heart grasp that which is total, complete, leaving nothing out?

And how would I ever be aware of it even if, for a moment, I knew such truth? With what measure would I judge it to be true and real, let alone complete?

Yet, isn’t this your outrageous promise, Jesus, that I will be led into complete truth?

And this is to say … into you, for you are complete truth.

This is our crazy confession. You are the ultimately real, the solid, the lasting, the unerring and unchanging.

Looking into your face, perceiving the reality that you are is to gaze into the Truth which is before time, the Truth which will remain when our old earth is frozen stone-cold and gray, rotating silent and lifeless for countless millennia around a burnt-out sun, collapsing beneath its own dying weight.

But we will not end in such lifeless futility. For you send your Spirit, the Spirit of truth who lives and breathes your present Presence, encompassing my little existence.

Your Spirit’s hungry desire is to lead me--and all--into complete Truth--into you, so that the life that I am--and the life that is in all--is taken into the fullness of the loving intimacy and eternal life that you share with the One you call Father.

And there, in this intimacy, we shall live where life is complete, where there is nothing but life.

I cannot imagine this, except in rare moments, moments even now. For moments come when some sweet Spirit transports me into a ‘space,’ into a moment of truest being in which I know complete love--and recognize it as truth unchanging and unassailable.

And I know: this is not a truth I possess, but the Truth who possesses me.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

St. Cashmere, pray for us

Cashmere Castillo was found yesterday.

He was eight. Full of play and mischief, he wandered too near the quick current of the Chicago River at a park near his home on the northwest side of Chicago.

It took a week to find his body. I think his school photo appeared in the paper every day that the search continued, and every day tears came to my eyes when I saw his face.

Dozens of stories go by us every week. Tragedies and successes, murder and mayhem fill hundreds of column inches and hours of television overage each week. Most of those stories pass by our eyes leaving no mark.

Then one comes along that grabs you by the heart and won’t let go.

I can’t say why this one has attached itself to my heart. Maybe I look into Cashmere’s young face and see the colors and contours of two of my grandsons, who share his Latino heritage.

Maybe it’s because I chase those boys around and witness the utter abandon of their playful joy that eliminates all awareness of danger. Maybe it’s because I know how easily what happened to Cashmere could happen to them.

Maybe the fragility of life is so real because I read and respond to the prayer list that hits my desk at the beginning of each week.

And maybe I will never figure out real reason why Cashmere’s photo pulls at my heart. I just know that the boundaries that protect me from caring about a hundred other stories in the paper disappear each time I see his photo.

May God grant him the fullness of joy. May he run free in the fields of heaven.

And may he be a holy saint revealing the thrill of being alive, the delight that God intends--and the joy that comes when we realize how fully we are loved and can love. May he teach us how utterly beautiful and gratuitous life on this planet is.

His young face teaches me at least this much, lest I forget. And I often do.

It seems profane to say it, but this child’s death has made me more alive. His face makes me aware that there is a love in me that hungers to get out. I didn’t create it. It’s just there. And I feel more alive when this love bursts the narrow confines of my constricted concerns.

This should not surprise anyone. God is love. Christian tradition said this from the start. To love, to feel love, to have love awakened within is to know God truly, literally, physically inside one’s body.

To feel love awakened is to know the Infinite Source of life within your own life, moving you beyond isolation, connecting you with the beauty and tragedy of living--telling you that all you are and all that is rests securely in the hand of the Love who reveals holiness in the face of eight year olds.

Pray for us, St. Cashmere. Break down our walls that we might truly live.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today’s text

Acts 2:5-8

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves. Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, and each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. 'Surely,' they said, 'all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?


It had been years, but it happened again last week. I joined hands with another man to pray. Seconds into my prayer for the healing of his heart and relationships, a soft and persistent river of sound flowed from his depths.

It was no language I understood, yet I understood everything. He was speaking in tongues.

A rhythmic pattern of consonants stumbling over a few vowels streamed from his lips in a counterpoint to my attempt to put his need into words. However strange, the stream of sound didn’t overwhelm or drown out my speaking. It moved in tandem, a continuo bass line beneath my prayer, a foundation holding it up, affirming plain language in an unexpected harmony.

It didn’t feel strange, nor was I was startled even for a moment. It all fit together. Two voices, two ‘languages’ in one human speaking, from the Spirit within us to the Spirit who was so far beyond us, seeking the full presence of the Holy Mystery who bound us together, though an hour before we’d never met.

I have no idea what my prayer partner was saying, nor do I feel any need to know whether my companion in prayer had any idea what was coming out of his mouth.

It didn’t matter. I understood that God was being praised, honored and sought. The core of our humanity was affirmed and expressed as words, understood and incomprehensible, flowed from us, bearing our need and hunger for the Inexpressible One, who transcends all human speaking.

Unity in love and purpose was spoken in a harmony of words the meaning of which transcended our abilities to comprehend.

Pentecost happened again. As always, it was a gift. We did nothing to make it happen, except, I suppose, to open our mouths and speak from our hearts.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today’s text

Acts 2:1-4

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.


Wind, fire, energy, movement … all in all it sounds like what happens when my grandsons visit, including strange languages.

The boys descend on the house with sound and fury and exhausting dynamism. Ethan, at two, the youngest, gestures emphatically, arms open wide as he declaims in a language unknown to me but for a stray word here and there.

So it is with the Spirit, and this shatters conventional understandings of church, worship and of being Christian.

The Spirit is about one thing: life.

From the beginning to the end of the Bible when the Spirit shows up there is life. With the appearance of the air, the wind, the breath, the Spirit of God, all the same thing, life happens. There is movement, energy, purpose, compassion and joy.

Without Spirit we are dispirited, disheartened, discouraged, dejected; the wind is knocked out of us. We don’t feel truly alive; our arms and spirits fall limp and lifeless.

So send out your Spirit, Jesus, the Spirit of your resurrected life, for I want to feel alive. I want to be alive.

I want to feel the pulse of your energy, joy and purpose in my inner being. I want to be filled with courage for the purpose of God, the desire of the Spirit, which is the fullness of life, not just for me but for all God’s creation.

The life to which you call us is not one of playing safe, being cautious, avoiding risks or fearing failure. It is life come fully alive, filled with courage and hope, a life beyond the fear of giving myself--all my energies and joys--to the world that you so love.

The Spirit moves the desire to pour myself out fully, so that when I come to the end there is nothing left to be given, for it has all been spilled out on the great field of living.

This honors you. This praises you and glorifies you who loved his own and loved them to the end, until all was finished and there was nothing left of you to give.

Can I live like that? Can I be so fully given? Can this heart so easily cowed and anxious at the normal exchanges of living begin to live into the fullness of Spirit, speaking the language of given-ness that every soul understands?

There are days, my Lord, my best days. May today be such a day. And tomorrow I will return again … with the same prayer.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today’s text

Luke 24:49-50

'And now I am sending upon you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city, then, until you are clothed with the power from on high.' Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and raising his hands he blessed them.


You blessed them. This is my favorite posture in which to see you, an image carved deep in my soul.

Perhaps it started in the old limestone church in Warren. From behind the high pulpit a mural looked back at me every Sunday. You were risen and ascending high in the air, your hands held head-high, your palms open and wounded in a gesture of blessing.

You looked down at your huddled friends in the painting and at us, a huddled few, gathered to go again through motions of standing, sitting, praying, singing and listening.

Week after week it went on, always under your gaze from the wall, as you silently blessed us, the confused and uncomprehending

Simple things, frequently seen, seem to leave the deepest mark.

The mural is still there, looking down on the generations who followed me in those pews. You are still there, Jesus, blessing them … and me. Only now, miles and years removed from the old church I carry the image in my mind. But it is no less vivid.

It tells me that blessing is what you are about, blessing the confused and uncomprehending, the failed and the fools, the stumbling and the wounded, the arrogant and those who believed they had no need of you or that room and fled as quickly as they could.

Sinners, all of us, that we much held in common, that and the truth that you bless us with a peace and presence that is ever for us, if we realize for the briefest moment that our lives are forever held in the mystery of those up-raised hands.

Silently, unceasingly, they tell us who we are and that we, who huddled beneath your gaze, are intended to live as free beloved, owing you nothing more than to be ourselves, that self that comes out to play and laugh when we know what those hands tell us.

I am sure I undershoot the mark, but for me this is the power from on high, the power, the freedom to be what we are, ourselves, and to give ourselves to those who need us without anxiety or arrogance, self-importance or worries about how we shall be seen or judged. This is power. And it flows from those hands.

You blessed me from that wall. Your hands told who I am, for what I am made and gave me the life you intend me to live. They tell me the power I will have from the Loving Mystery on those days I have the good sense to let you bless me.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Today’s text

John 24:44-46

Then he [Jesus] told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.' He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead … .'


Destined … it needed to happen. But didn’t you have choices, Jesus? Surely you did, or you are not human like me, and I know that you are, though perhaps with fewer struggles over whom you really are and for what you were made.

You knew your destiny, and your decisions were guided by that knowing. You knew your life was to be a sign of the Father’s rule.

You knew every moment of your existence--of every person’s existence--was lived in the field of Loving Presence. You knew the truth you lived would be resisted and denounced.

You knew your life was a threat to ‘business as usual,’ a contradiction to life as we most often live it. You knew this contradiction would bring conflict and that faithfulness to God’s dream would destroy you.

It was destined, necessary, and you chose that destiny. I love you for this. You move me. You chose, and the life you choose is a portrait of everything I want, everything I most value and everything the world should and will be.

But try as I might may soul falls downcast when the things I do are not successful, when my life seems so forgotten and lived in a corner, so different from once upon a time.

Can I surrender to this destiny, to living and loving in my place, knowing my successes will be few and small, my failures common and my best labors soon forgotten or dismissed as having little import?

Can I choose, as you chose, the necessity of living and loving in the place and way the Loving Mystery has given me?

And why, oh why, should that last sentence bring such tears?

They are tears not of shame but of recognition of the central truth of one’s life: how small and yet how great one person’s life truly is … when the destiny of time, place and circumstance are not refused but chosen.

In that choosing, we--I--become as you, one who recognizes in the next task, in the day’s simple duties the destiny for which one came into the world, a simple destiny: to love, to give oneself, to choose one’s place and time as gift and grace, however great or obscure.

In that choosing, the Father’s holy kingdom shines amid whatever struggles, resistance or apathy prevails. But by choosing and living that destiny, in given-ness to our moments the Word in us is fulfilled, and the heart comes to know that this, alone, is enough.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Today’s text

John 14:28-29

You heard me say: I am going away and shall return. If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.


Your friends hear you, Jesus. But they hear only that you are going away, and sadness with fear sinks their souls.

‘Don’t go,’ their hearts immediately cry. They can’t help it. The reaction is involuntary not chosen. They know only the sadness immense loss. ‘Don’t go,’ that is the entire awareness of their souls.

‘Don’t go. We have barely come to know you. Only now have we begun to know how you change us. We are more alive when you are here. The air is warmer and clearer. We feel lighter, safer and happier. Our hearts are secure in your nearness. We are less alive, no; we don’t really live without you.’

But the cry is not theirs. It is mine. I understand them completely. My soul languishes in sadness and distraction of its own making and confusion when I don’t feel you near.

I fall into self-preoccupation, consumed with my failure to live a truly human life; a life lived in joy, aware of its purpose, filled with the energy of eternity which is that glistening love with which you fill me in those times when I am most aware of your presence.

So don’t go, Jesus. When I don’t sense you near my life is but a half-life, a shadow life in which the light of your face fails to shine through the gray mask of my melancholy.

But you go, and you go in order to return. You come back to me again and again, appearing with the full gifts of the Father’s great and invincible heart to light my soul with joy. I know that you go to enter the fullness of the One who is Fullness of life and joy. You go so that you may pour the nectar of this living delight into souls who run dry.

So pour your life onto the dry dust of this soul that I may live as fully as you, brimming with a joy born not in pleasant moments but in the deep reaches of the divine heart.

Then I shall be alive, and all the death that clings shall be washed away.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Today’s text

John 14:25-27

I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.


“Don’t let your hearts be troubled even when life is troubling.” That’s what you say this morning, my Friend. “My peace I leave you, even when life is troubling. The Spirit of Life abides with and in and around you.

“You have all you need, for you have my words, my life and my love ringing in your ears and stirring in your soul, surrounding you in the hearts of those who love me. You are not and never alone. You have me, and I have you.

“So don’t be troubled or afraid even when life is fearful and threats lurk unseen in the bushes waiting to pounce. Every trouble and fear is already overcome, overwhelmed, over-powered by that from which the universe springs, by Love Itself, and Love Itself abides every place, breaking the walls of tombs and fear.

“Even in the loneliest haunts of your soul, in the hollow halls of mind where your voice echoes weak and alone, longing for some presence to break up the fearful emptiness, I am there. Your silent voice is heard.

“Hear also mine: ‘Let your heart not be troubled, for I am greater than your heart, greater than your troubles.’ In the beginning, my love exploded, making a world in which I take delight, and my delight is for you. Never are you alone or forgotten. Love forgets not its own.

“Every moment, every trouble and fear, yes, every joy, too, is an invitation to intimacy; to come near; to speak your heart into the darkness trusting that the darkness has ears. Every moment is an invitation to know that I am the enveloping darkness you cannot see, surrounding and encompasses even the darkest and most fearful places in the immensity of Love Unimaginable.

“Nothing will steal you from the enveloping cloud of my presence.

“So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid. Even your troubles and fear are held in the grasp of life and love. In darkest moments, I whisper, ‘Trust. Believe. All is well. Come close to my heart. Bring all that is in your own, fear, trouble, the whole load.’

“You dwell in the field of my immensity. Everything does. And everything that will ever come to you is a door into a love of which you will never know the end.”

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today’s text

John 14:25-27

'I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.'


What is your peace, Jesus, if not the inseparable oneness you shared with the Holy Mystery, the Father?

Most often I confuse peace with imperturbability. It is undisturbed serenity, free from distress and disordered desire. But if this is peace, you didn’t have it yourself, Jesus, so how can you give it to me?

You were disturbed, angry, disappointed, distressed and deeply moved. Your generous heart knew pain and impatience over suffering and cruelty, hatred and apathy.

But did you also know some paradoxical peace amid the swirl of distress?

Part of me wants peace without distress, serenity freed from the tensions of living. But this doesn’t exist. It can’t be had, and I wouldn’t want it even if you gave it to me. For it would be a peace stripped of feeling for life. It would not know revulsion at hunger and suffering, or the swells love that wash over me when I touch and bless the heads of my little grandsons.

Who wants a life without such feeling? Such stirring within reflects deep connection with the world its needs and joys. Serenity without passion has nothing to do with you, Jesus. It is not an expression of your Spirit.

Still, I want peace, and your offer to give it draws me to you. I want to dwell, to make my home in the peace you knew, and the only way I can conceive of your peace is as unity, harmony, oneness with the Eternal Love to which your soul was transparent.

You lived in felt awareness of the loving delight in which the Father held you. You constantly knew your life was a singular expression of the Being of the One who is Love. Your life was not yours but the substance of the Infinite Source who is Life.

Dwelling in that awareness released joy, mercy and freedom from self-conscious anxiety so that a fountain of love flowed through you.

My lack of peace is comes because I lose awareness of truth you never lost.

I am no more separated from the Loving Mystery than were you, Jesus. My life at every moment is an expression of the Ultimate Source of Being and Love. It is always held, treasured and delighted in by a Love that beggars all description.

That’s what you knew Jesus. Always. That’s what my anxious self forgets.

But it is this awareness that you give to me, so that even now I feel the power of Being in my hands, my heart and my mind, and know again what you always knew.

Today let me not forget.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today’s text

John 14:23

Jesus replied: ‘Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him.’


Tuesday comes. The day off ends, not that it was devoid of work anyway. Responsibilities and care intrude even on the most protected days.

But with the morning light, the unending to-do list asserts itself with unrelenting vigor. I suppose I should be thankful for good work to do, but I am not.

Insistent anxiety compels me to rush by these quiet, daybreak minutes and rush headlong into the fray. I’m driven to silence the nagging voice that hectors my mind until I can cross a clutch of neglected tasks off the list.

Peace of mind, I am certain, depends upon getting things done. Only then can the heart rest.

It’s a lie, of course. It isn’t true. The list will always be there. Faces and phone calls, administration and neglected conversations you will always have with you. (Didn’t you say something like that, Jesus?)

I cannot meet all the needs on the list, let alone do all that I demand of myself. Not even close.

This awareness splinters consciousness at the very point--now--when I want (and badly need) to dissolve all self-consciousness in you, so that there’s awareness only of Presence, so that I know that I am with and in you, so that I feel my being encompassed in divine immensity; so that this awareness fills every internal space, and the peace of oneness floods the mind.

A divided mind cannot have this awareness, only a mind that turns again and again from habitual lies to singular truth.

I love the awareness of oneness with you, so I keep your word, which, I believe, means waiting here, refusing the urge to throw myself into the day before my soul has had time to be with you and receive its freedom.

The word I keep is the truth that I am made by and for you. You hunger to dwell in me, even as I yearn to dwell in you. So being here, with you, must be the day’s first business, a quiet keeping of the truth in the face of noisy lies.

Pr. David L. Miller