A series of biblical readings and prayers from David L. Miller, senior pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Naperville, IL. David is the former editor of The Lutheran magazine and Director of Spiritual Formation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
When the Lord
restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy.
Sometimes our reality outstrips our hopes and expectations.
Sometimes what comes to us exceeds what we thought was possible. So it was for
your people, Holy One, when they returned from exile, home to Zion, the city of their sweetest dreams.
Their longings were fulfilled, and they breathed the fresh
air of the home to which they never expected to return.
Their story is my story, our story, for we live so much of
our lives in exile, far from home.
You made us for this earth, to tend and till, care and
nurture with our hands and hearts, giving all that we are to the life of this
precious planet and the lives therein.
This is home, this is life, this is our place of being. Joy comes
as we give our hearts away in care and nurture of what you have made and given
us. Heaven is not our home … this is. This is where you placed us to live, to
grow and love.
Yet, this is not quite home.
We do our work, care for homes and families, jobs and
community, striving to do and be all we can be, all the while hoping and
craving something more, fearing it will never come, distressed that we may
never reach it.
A sense of exile disturbs the soul.
We long for unity in love with the Love who made us. We seek
the More beyond whom no more is or can be.
We try to still our restless longings with success or money,
fun and ever-more crowded schedules, but these never fully satisfy the soul’s
desire for more. We will always want more.
Except, … there are moments when we feel ourselves inside
the More you are, Holy One, and we enter a home that exceeds every expectation
of joy and peace we have ever had.
Moments come, faces appear, grace and beauty find us, touch
us, fill us, carry us away into the Heart that is the home our hearts seek.
Every biblical story about God’s exiled, wandering people
hungry for home, every story, myth and fairy tale that speaks of separation
from home, from lost love or from a promised land not yet found--all of this
speaks our soul’s unsatisfied longing to enter the heart of God.
But even in this life, moments come when our longings are
stilled, when dreams are fulfilled, when reality exceeds hope and expectation, and
our souls are released in joy.