Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Today’s text

Matthew 3:1-3

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 necessary.

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 live.”

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.

I hear it, also in myself.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, December 02, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Today’s text

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine out, for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you. Look! though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples, on you Yahweh is rising and over you his glory can be seen. The nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.


The mind is a ready traveler, instantly flying to far flung rooms and places the heart knows well.

Today, I see a holy pilgrimage from afar, a hospice room, and an old friend, Bev, tired, played out, knowing it is about time to go. No more chemotherapy, no more trips to he hospital, just keep the pain at bay. Please.

Entering there are familiar faces, friends, colleagues, members of the congregation, bearing prayer shawls and bread, wine and oil to do a holy thing, assuring a tired heart that there is One who never tires, who always watches and does not sleep.

They come bearing the peace of God and their grief, barely able to take in what decades of disease has done to their beloved.

I see their faces, their sadness and their overwhelming hunger to find some way--please God, some way!--to pour the love within them onto this soul who has barely enough strength to smile.

Still, there is that smile, dimmed, yes, but still there. I have seen and know it, and it whispers a gentle welcome to each beloved face that enters the room.

Even here there is joy; even in this darkness light shines. Each pilgrim to the bedside awakens joy for one more time to say thank you, one more time to receive the gifts of bread and wine they bear, to feel the warmth of a shawl and the blessing of the hands that made it.

Everything I see is a sacrament of a transcendent love that death cannot defeat. The windowless hospice room, dimly lit in shadows, glistens with light. The room is filled with knowledge of God. No words can speak it, but the heart knows.

Each pilgrim comes to this holy place bearing the gift of their life, their heart, their hands. Each comes to bless, yet wondering if they really have much to give.

They shouldn’t wonder though. They are well equipped for their holy mission. They bear the love who will never let us go.

I wish they could see themselves as I see them. They are more beautiful than they can possibly know. And when they leave, after they have blessed Bev with the beauty of their souls, after they received the grace of her whispered welcome, they will be more alive and glorious than when they first arrived.

I could pray my Advent prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come to this place and lighten our darkness,” but it seems unnecessary. You already have.

And you have given me the eyes to see it. What more could I want?

Pr. David L. Miller