Saturday, April 26, 2014
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.
The color of love
What is the color of love? Every first grader knows it is red, and it is shaped like a heart. But I think it includes every shade and hue we can imagine, every joy and sorrow.
We should color-code the notes on the prayer wall of our sanctuary. People stop there to write a prayer and stick it up on the wall.
There are always fewer prayer notes than I’d like to see. I want us to coat the wall with a great wash of color, the color of love that blends every human need and emotion.
We could use red stick-up notes for the loves that make us truly glad. Blue notes could speak our deep hopes and unfulfilled yearning, white ones the joy of being alive and feeling free. Green or gold could lift our prayers for healing, and scarlet the sorrows that won’t heal.
Run all the colors together, each one overlapping and crowding out others and you have the confusing, contradictory, mixed-up mess that is human life.
You also have one great visual prayer of thanks for being joined in a community of love and faith where every hue and color, every emotion and experience finds a welcome--and the love that Christ is becomes much more than words on paper.
Help us, blessed Christ, to be a community of love where you are known and hearts find healing.
Pr. David L. Miller
Friday, April 25, 2014
In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
I reached over the hospital bed and marked Simon’s forehead with the sign of the cross. Never before had I been privileged to serve someone so distinguished. A Nobel Prize for physics graced his office for a lifetime of work I will never understand.
That did not matter now. He was dying, and what he most wanted was the blessing I came to speak. “Simon, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.”
It’s more than a formula. It is truth spoken to human souls at moments of greatest fear and need. It tells them to whom they belong at the very moment they realize they have no grip on life and never really did.
There is One who holds you, One who claims you, One to whom you belong every moment of your living and dying, for you are in Christ … and he is in you.
This assurance, first pronounced in our baptism, is a truth to be claimed every day.
“I am yours, and you are mine … and you will always be,” the Spirit whispers to our souls. “The breath of hope within you, the warmth of love flowing through your heart--these all tell you the Spirit you hold and the Wonder who holds you.”
And all this is but a pledge of what will be.
Pr. David L. Miller
Thursday, April 24, 2014
In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.
The language of praise is joy, the startling joy of discovering that reality is better than your dreams and fantasies, the joy of feeling a love greater than any you imagined you would ever know … or could know.
We are lifted to praise every time our eyes open and our hearts feel the reality into which we wake every single day. Our little lives are strands of the great story of God’s determined love, working in every circumstance to bring us into the joy of oneness with him and all that is.
This is God’s holy dream, God’s eternal purpose. There is no desire in the heart of the Holy One to condemn or exclude. God treasures all God has created and hungers to draw you and all things into the love God is.
This is your reality. The great sorrow of our lives is that we so seldom see and feel it that our hearts may know how profoundly we are loved and wanted--and how significant our lives are, each contributing its unique texture and color to God’s great story.
So wake and claim the truth every morning. It will lift you beyond your burdens into the joy of praising God for letting you be part of it all--part of a startling Love who will never let you go.
Gracious and Holy One, lift us into the joy of praising you for the love you are.
Pr. David L. Miller