Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today’s text

John 21:15-18

When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep. Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.’


So it is. The things we love take us beyond ourselves, beyond our limits, beyond our will.

Do you love me? It all comes does to this. Am I playing a religious game, clever with words and ideas about ultimate concerns and unsolvable mysteries?

Or do I love you, Jesus?

Do I love the thought and sight of you? Do I love the mysterious someone who touched and healed those that society tossed to the edges of life?

Do I love the non-conformist way you fought with all who drew lines to separate people from God and each other?

Do I love the soul I meet when I turn your words over in my mind?

The fact is that I do. In you, 20 centuries later, I feel like I am meeting the only real human being who ever lived, one who knew the mystery of his connection with the Infinite Source for whom no name will do.

In you I meet a true soul who was always, unfailingly himself. In you I see a beauty I am not, but which I want to be.

So ‘yes,’ I say with some surprise. Yes, this morning I discover that I love you more than I thought I did. I have known that love in recent days, and it takes me beyond where I want to go.

Loves does that.

I am not like Peter, led away by brutal hands that inflict physical wounds and, ultimately, death. But something similar happens for all of us who love you.

For me it’s more like this: The phone rings, a shaky voice asks for conversation. It happens most often in the middle of dinner and especially when I am tired and feel that I have nothing left to give. I want my couch, a glass of wine and some gentle conversation.

I don’t want to go. I’m tired. But I go. I go beyond the limits of what I think is reasonable because the love you are requires it, Jesus, because the love you have put in me moves it.

This is no external force compelling me. But it’s something no less deniable, the presence of love for the love you are moving me beyond myself, beyond my limits, beyond my own willing.

And for that time, I am as human as you, Jesus, and as blessed. And I am happy. Funny how that is.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today’s text

Psalm 30:8-10

To you, Yahweh, I call, to my God I cry for mercy. What point is there in my death, my going down to the abyss? Can the dust praise you or proclaim your faithfulness? Listen, Yahweh, take pity on me, Yahweh, be my help!


My soul cries for a great open space where my heart may breathe free.

The morning sun awakens in the Earth the full promise of spring. Green shoots push insistently through winter’s cold dust. Nothing can stop it. The good Earth will bloom with joy and color.

May it lift also me, for the weight of the past clings to my heart. I want only that my steps should slow and anxiety cease. I hunger for freedom from all constriction that tightens the chest and prevents me from living in the fullness of loving joy. This alone is really living.

In my mind’s eye, I see the life I want, a life I sometimes live but too often am unable to enter. I see the life for which you intend me: unrushed, confident, gentle, a soul quiet amid the contingencies and constant changes of life.

It is the calm of love that I want, the peace of walking in a love that is so total, so complete that the slings and arrows of dumb chance and human pettiness no longer disturb.

Death is not a condition at the end of my days. It is any day when such love is not known in the pit of one’s soul. For it is this that made me, and this for which I am made. Apart from such knowing of love I feel separated from my Source, from the fountain that is your life.

So I cry for mercy. No great peril faces me this day, only small challenges. But it is these that most threaten the soul as years and decades pass. They slowly wean us from the richness of love we need.

So slowly, so insidiously we begin to imagine we can live, truly live, without this sublime knowledge of you, Holy One. After a while we fail to notice we are eating crumbs from the table, scrambling to get by, living on morsels of the banquet of grace that would flood our soul and fill our being with the love you are.

Our souls are famished for want of the love that fills the heart with every confidence and the music of easy laughter.

So have mercy on me. Do not let me fall into death this day. May the life I know only in the fullness of your love fill me--and fill another heart well known to me, a soul who this day faces challenges far greater than my own.

Lord, have mercy. Do not let her fall into the abyss, for who can praise you there?

Pr. David L. Miller