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