Thursday, August 09, 2012

Wednesday, August 9, 2012

Today’s text

John 6:48-51

'I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.'


What feeds a human soul so that the heart remain full and strong, the soul quiet and at peace?

This is no idle question amid the changes and chances of life that come as quickly as a telephone ring, bearing news you do not want.

There is no need to list the losses and challenges that come to even the most sheltered lives. Human life is what it is … unpredictable, gloriously filled with joy one moment and pitted with angst or sorrow the next.

We may wish for a stable soul, calm amid the storms, quiet in the face of painful loss, but few enjoy such strength and stability.

Some may reach for this state through denial of what is happening within them or by trying not to care, pretending the ship of their soul doesn’t rock much on the waves of living.

But cares will and do come, the soul shakes, the heart quakes and we hunger for strength, an awareness that allows a peaceful heart amid an unpeaceful world.

Jesus asks us what we are eating: Are we eating him? Are we consuming what is in him that we know what he knows and our hearts dwell in the land where he dwells?

“Come and eat,” he bids. “Come and know. Come and lay down at the side of my great soul that your soul may enter the place of peace and eat the bread of knowledge, taking in the life that is in me.”

There is no other way to become a great soul, who remains full and quiet, at peace and full amid jangling nerves and unpleasant news, except by eating, again and again, the revelation Jesus bears.

He bears the Life of the One who is Life, the love of the One who is Love. In nearness to him, we eat the bread of his all-encompassing heart and know ourselves encompassed and filled with the life of eternity even now, amid the noise and news of living these days.

“All is well,” great souls have said in every age. They were not na├»ve or stupid. They had just eaten more than we have.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Today’s text

Ephesians 4:31-5:2

Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you -- as must every kind of malice. Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ. As God's dear children, then, take him as your pattern, and follow Christ by loving as he loved you, giving himself up for us as an offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God.


So many walls divide the human family. Walls of language, culture and history divide nations. Old wounds and fears, unforgiven injuries and injustices, disrespect and insensitivities divide former friends and families, neighbors and communities.

Nations and peoples harbor anger and mistrust, arming themselves and striking when they fear the other might strike first.

We nurture grudges, repeating old stories about those who hurt or insulted us, hardening our attitudes and maintaining a safe distance between our hearts and their actions. It’s the human condition.

Amid such division the Spirit calls us to imitate the inimitable, to be as God, who tears down the walls that separate soul from soul, so the holy dream of God might come true--and all might be one in a great ocean of Love.

The first wall that must come down is that which distances our hearts from the divine heart, the undivided heart of God.

It’s hard to believe and trust that heart because we know our hearts, which are full of divisions and contradictions. The idea and experience of a heart that wills only one thing--complete and total love for all--is foreign to us, impossible to fathom.

We look at God as we look at others, wondering if we can trust that this heart. Does the heart of God seek to bless me at all times and in all things? What about all the crushing hardships, injustices and searing circumstances that cut to the heart and wear us down?

Even there? Even then?

Even there, even then: The great and undivided Heart who is God seeks our hearts, tearing down walls of fear, mistrust and doubt so that our hearts might be healed in the knowledge that there is One, … there is always One who loves and is love for us.

Only in the destruction of the walls of distrust that divide us from the fullness of the One who is full of love can our hearts imitate the inimitable, following the pattern of God who tears down walls that division may give way to unity and peace.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Today’s text

Ephesians 4:31-32

Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you -- as must every kind of malice. Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.


Last night’s news featured a photo of a former army officer standing in front of a Nazi flag bearing the infamous swastika, the world’s most notorious symbol of hate. More photos followed accompanied by angry music with vile lyrics.

How? I wondered. How can anyone identify with such filth, such death? How can a soul become so twisted that they willingly drink this poison--and be moved to kill, as this young man did, riddling a Sikh temple with bullets?

Perhaps it is fear of the outsider, fear of those who are different that motivates such hate. We seek to destroy that which we fear.

The invitation of God’s grace is to live beyond fear, knowing God is good and gracious, trusting that neither life nor death nor anything else can separate us from an immeasurable love that holds us in every moment.

There is no fear in God, who is full of loving graciousness even to the enemies of God, as Jesus revealed in him life and ministry.

There are moments when this love also fills us until we overflow with peace and kindness, wanting nothing other than to appreciate and bless those around us, gently handling every moment and every heart.

In these moments, we truly know who God is; we know how we are loved and held, and we know how we are to live--beyond fear and in love, always in love, generous as God is generous, forgiving as we are forgiven

Only in knowing the Love who holds us can we live the love that lifts us above our fears of the other, of those we do not agree with or understand.

When we see such hate as sometimes fills our TV screens we reach again for that Love who is always reaching for us that we might be the antidote to the hate that rips human souls and societies. This is Christ’s call to us.

And know: God uses everything, wasting nothing, not even swastikas.

I was blessed watching the news. The hate-filled images moved my heart to embrace more deeply the gentleness of the Spirit within my own heart, grown there through years of praying and hearing the way of Jesus, the way of grace that makes us human.

Pr. David L. Miller