Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Lord of laughter
It is good to laugh. Laughter releases us from the grip of whatever confines our hearts and limits our joy. We are made for joy, intended for laughter which frees us to be the grace we each are.
Rejoice always; let your gentleness be known to all people. The Lord is near.
Yes, the Lord is near, even here, at the bedside of the dying as friends and children gather to release their beloved into the grace in which we each are made.
Even here … rejoice. Do not be conformed to the way the world sees and thinks and feels. Rejoice, for the Lord is near.
We know … we feel and know your blessed nearness in the sound of gentle laughter that comes as we acknowledge our foibles and follies, the silly things we human beings do, the ways we need each other … and have loved each other in spite of disappointments and hurts.
And who would have thought that biscotti baking would trigger laughter of truest affection in a hospice room? Who could have known?
But there it was.
No, … there you are.
We know you in our laughter amid the tears. Our laughter is the song of your Love singing in our souls, lifting us into the joy of simply knowing … simply knowing you as the Love you are.
And knowing, too, that this is all we really need.
Blessed are those who love and laugh. They know you.
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
A holy presentation
Monday, I sat in the chair by her bed and prayed. From time to time, I think she heard me from far away … in the world of sleep, a land suspended between life and the Life into which we go.
I wanted her to hear the words of assurance and peace, words of blessing and yes, of regret, that her life was not what she wanted … and was ending too soon.
I wanted to bless her and for her to hear and know it fully. I wanted her to know the Love that fills you when you sit beside the dying soul for whom you wanted so much more--certainly more life … but also enough love to heal the inner wounds you could not mend.
So I presented her to you, Loving God. My prayer hovered above her bed, barely penetrating her consciousness as I offered her to you … offered myself, too.
I was there, praying, speaking, blessing--marking her head with oil in the sign of the cross, the hope of the wounded and broken.
Even if she could little hear or respond, words of grace flowed from my soul to surround and embrace her, as I offered her back to you, a holy presentation of a life you love, a life that has long hungered and cried out for the healing only you can give.
Nurses came and sheepishly backed out the door, not wanting to interrupt. I wonder … did I look foolish, speaking prayers and blessings to someone who may have heard almost nothing of what was said?
There is a time I would have cared about the answer to that question. No more.
It is not just that I know that you hear, Holy One.
No, I have come to see that all that matters … all that matters … is the speaking, the blessing, the grace. Once grace is released into any room--however empty or full, whether heard or not--everything is changed and charged with the Presence of the Love who heals what we cannot.
So we sat there, embraced by grace long after the final echoes of my words faded into silence, the two of us, a holy sacrifice presented to you.
So sad, yet … it was perfect. Because of you.
Pr. David L. Miller
Monday, August 18, 2014
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Saturday afternoon I walked through the sanctuary, and my heart filled with joy. I was beyond happy. I was overwhelmed with pleasure, the pleasure of God.
The joy filling me was eternal, endless, without limit, and it completed me.
I could not imagine then … or now … anything I would rather do … or be … than to be in this place, speaking a word of the Love who refuses to let us go.
“Thank you,” I said into the empty room where people would soon gather. “Thank you for letting me do this.” This is my only prayer as I bow at the table at the start and close of every liturgy.
I have no explanation for why I should feel this way or why this should be the place that joy comes so fully. I only know I feel God’s pleasure when I am here, when I speak and when the blessing and compassion of God flow through me.
It is then that I am truly alive, free … and me. And I know … I was born to be this vessel of blessing. I was formed to know the joy of grace, the elevation of divine pleasure filling and passing through me.
I do not think I am in any way special. It is the divine destiny of every human soul to experience God’s pleasure filling them so that they might surrender themselves to the labor of life they have been given … and know the Love who made them, the Love for which they are intended.
The filling of divine pleasure comes as we surrender ourselves in love to the Love we come to know in this life. And in our surrender, we discover what it means to be alive, truly alive.
Pr. David L. Miller