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.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
In due course John the Baptist
appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea,
'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' This
was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said: A voice of one that
cries in the desert, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.'
They kneel at the center of the labyrinth, a man and a woman,
having followed the winding path to the fleur de lis at the center of the canvas.
There is nothing in their hands. The serpentine path
stripped them of all distractions and every extraneous weight they were bearing.
Non-essentials fell by the wayside, too heavy to carry.
Theirs is a journey to the center of the soul. They have arrived
at themselves, souls stripped down to a singular desire that brings them to
their knees in a prayer that needs no words. Their posture says everything
His head low, nearly touching the canvas by a pot of
candles, flickering light reflects from hair thinned by chemotherapy. The woman
kneels nearby, eyes fixed on him, attentive to his every move, her heart clear
in unwavering eyes.
At the center of the labyrinth the surface noise of life
disappears. The daily clatter falls blessedly silent. And the voice of the soul,
a voice that is always speaking, is finally heard, “I want to live. Just let me
The voice pleads to be known and heard and loved. It pleads
for real life where the deepest things in us breathe and are spoken to those most
loved. It cries for joy of being the beauty and love it feels inside, the love
and beauty the Creator intends.
At the center, you hear your own deepest voice and the voice
of God, all at once. They are the same voice, one voice with a single cry, “I want
to live. Just let me live.”
This desire takes different forms and assumes different
words on different days. But underneath it all is this one, holy desire, first-born
not in our hearts but in the heart of the One who made us.
Advent is a time to prepare for the Lord’s coming, a time to
repent, to clear away that which that gets in the way of living from the center
of God’s heart within.
As I watch them, the man and the woman, kneeling at the
center, I see that they have arrived. Repentance has happened in them. There is no doubt they can live lives more real than any they have lived before. The voice of soul speaks even in their silence.