Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today’s text

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

The message of the cross folly for those who are on the way to ruin, but for those of us who are on the road to salvation it is the power of God. As scripture says: I am going to destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of any who understand. Where are the philosophers? Where are the experts? And where are the debaters of this age? Do you not see how God has shown up human wisdom as folly? Since in the wisdom of God the world was unable to recognize God through wisdom, it was God's own pleasure to save believers through the folly of the gospel.


I believe the glory of God is witnessed in the palette of miraculous color splashing across the western sky as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Beauty is there for any with eyes to see.

God drops a hint in every sunset, in every sunrise, nudging our consciousness toward awareness and wonder. Here is beauty, but it is a drop in the ocean of the Beauty who made all that is.

But who can see beauty in an executed man? Can anyone perceive the wisdom of God in the brutality of intentional, inhuman suffering?

The Christian claim is that the heart of God is unknown and ultimately unknowable except in the cross, in the surrender of Jesus to a death at the hands of those who were protecting their power and maintaining an orderly and servile society.

For Christians, the cross reveals the meaning of all things. But what do we really see?

A man, Jesus, dying, failing to flee the death he could see coming to him because the powers that be saw him as a threat, a potential insurrectionist.

It is always interesting that people in poorer cultures seem to understand the cross better than we who live in more developed economies. They look at Jesus hanging on his cross and ‘get it.’

I saw this in reporting trips years ago in places like El Salvador and Namibia, Nigeria and China.

The poor looked at Jesus on the cross and saw that ‘he is one of us,’ sharing the struggle of living in a difficult place and time, identifying with whose most forgotten and left out of the gold rush for this world’s goods.

They saw him take on the powers that favor the few and hold others down, challenging the powerful toward compassion and announcing an alternative kingdom where the blessings of God are shared by all so that the desire of God might become human reality.

Jesus’ death on the cross meant that he did not run from the suffering that came to him because he poured compassion on the poor and challenged those that have. He submitted to suffering as act of love for all that God loves--the poor, the rich, the haves, the have-nots, all of us.

They saw the power and glory of God in sunsets like the rest of us. But in the cross they saw the heart and desire of God to love us all into justice and life.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wednesday, March 7 2012

Today’s text

John 12:35-37

Jesus then said: The light will be with you only a little longer now. Go on your way while you have the light, or darkness will overtake you, and nobody who walks in the dark knows where he is going. While you still have the light, believe in the light so that you may become children of light. Having said this, Jesus left them and was hidden from their sight. Though they had been present when he gave so many signs, they did not believe in him ... .


We see what is in us. If we are in touch with the love and kindness of God in our hearts, we will see that love and kindness everywhere. If our hearts are hard, we will see it nowhere … and find bitterness everywhere.

In the beginning, God created light and opened human eyes to the beauty of the world and the generosity of the God who is love, whose pleasure is giving life.

History is a story of God continuing to breathe life into to the world and into us, seeking to open closed eyes and hearts to the Divine Presence, to the loving generosity that can be found in every time and place.

Sometimes God is successful, sometimes not.

Sometimes human hearts turn from love, seeking themselves and their own power, their own glory. They find the world a distrustful and threatening place

Sometimes human hearts are broken so badly by the suffering and tragedies of this world that they can see nothing else. Sometimes this pain turns their hearts from every vain seeking of self, knowing only a love willing to suffer with others can heal the wounds of this earth.

Sometimes we see the breathtaking beauty of hearts that love this world and all in need and are moved to want this beauty more than anything else, sensing that this alone can heal us and calm our fears.

In every time, the light of God shines in every love, breathes in every beauty to awaken us to the light of God that shines most clearly and distinctly in our brother Jesus.

But if do not have this light and love within us we cannot see him.

Yet, do we not all have this light within us? Are we not all alive with the breath of God, animated by the One who breathes life into us and all creation in every moment?

And if so, then why did some see Jesus and believe and others did not? Why do some see and believe today … and others not?

Perhaps we need to have our hearts touched and moved by love for this world and all its beauty and struggle.

Perhaps opening our hearts to the presence of this wounded love within softens hearts and opens our eyes to see the fullness of this love in the face of our wounded brother, Jesus, who suffers for the sake of the world.

Perhaps then we shall see how this world and we are loved. Perhaps then we shall see his love everywhere and in everything.

Perhaps once we are in touch with the love of God who is the Source of our being we shall see the light that shines in every darkness, even ours.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Today’s text

1 Corinthians 1:18

The message of the cross folly for those who are on the way to ruin, but for those of us who are on the road to salvation it is the power of God.


There is nothing attractive about the cross despite the millions of replicas we hang on our walls or around our neck. We may make it of gold or silver and adorn it with beautiful stones. Our artists contort and color it in ways that can erase its brutality.

But it remains a ghastly affront to human sensibilities, which was always its intention.

In the ancient world, the cruelty of hanging society’s offenders on a cross, slowly to die, kept people in line. It was an instrument of execution and social order that made it clear who was in charge and what would happen to you if you forgot.

Centuries later, we can’t imagine the ugliness or pain of such a death. The cross has become an amulet, a good luck charm we hold up against the struggles of our lives to shield ourselves from the pains of living.

But it doesn’t protect us from a thing.

The cross invites into those pains, to give ourselves to those struggles trusting that there is One who has gone there before us, One who did not avoid the pains of the lost and forgotten, One who brings life out of death and hope where none seems possible.

The cross of Christ invites us to the hope of life where life seems most lost and we feel most alone.

For we are not alone. The Holy One who is God walked in the way of the forsaken, the way of the cross, awakening the awareness that there is no place the power and love of God will not go, no power that divine love cannot conquer.

Pr. David L. Miller