Friday, September 12, 2014
The heart of God is endlessly flowing stream … from which you may drink … and live.
When I was 11 or 12 I sometimes rode my bike north of town with a few others boys on summer Saturdays. We left town on highway 78, crossed the state line into Wisconsin, riding three of four miles, mostly uphill, to a gravel road … that headed west.
The road dipped steeply, and we coasted a few hundred yards down the hill and across a rusty bridge. Jamming on our brakes, we sprayed gravel across the road as we turned into a dirt lane and were stopped by a wooden gate, weathered gray through years of neglect.
Dropping our bikes in a grassy ditch, we climbed over the gate and stepped into a pasture, a narrow valley split in two by a lazy steam, three or four horses grazing at the north end of the field.
We ran and rambled along the west side of the valley, beckoned by a pool of water on the edge of the field. A spring pulsed from the bottom of the pool. Crystal clear, burning cold water flowed several gallons a minute from deep within the earth
Water cress grew along the shallow edges of the pool, crisp and crunchy, slightly salty to the taste, green as grass, fresh as the water.
Kicking off our sneakers, we waded to the center of the pool and drank from our hands right over the mysterious crevice from which the water flowed. Cooled and filled, we plunked down on the pond’s marshy bank and soaked our feet in the cold water, mud oozing between out toes, watching what … to our eyes … was a miracle.
The crystal flow at the center of the pool just kept bubbling up, pushed from the earth by forces we didn’t understand. Day and night, winter and summer, it just kept flowing.
We returned a couple of times every summer until we thought we were too old for such things… as if you ever are. Every time the water flowed, beautiful and cold, fresher than any water we’d ever taste.
We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t work a pump handle to draw it from the earth. It did not depend on us in any way. Our moods, happy or sad, make any difference. Nor did the lies we told our mothers about not riding on the highway.
The water just kept flowing, refreshing us and giving a group of boys an adventure on summer days when our little town bored us to tears.
To understand God … you must understand the spring. To must understand eternal life you must know the feeling of being revived by its crystal pure water.
God is an endlessly flowing stream of love we feel in every love we ever know. The flow just continues, night and day, without ebb or end, seeking to refresh your heart that you may find peace … and know the love that never runs dry.
The lifting up of Jesus on the cross is the sign of what is always true and what always will be true. The heart of God is a heart of love constantly pouring itself out in the hope that we will know and feel the love that seeks us in every time and place, in every grace and beauty, in every bright or gloomy day.
Pr. David L. Miller
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The eternal sign
The heart of God is an ocean of love that holds all we are and everything that is.
Every once in a blessed while we wake into awareness of the Love who holds all things. We feel this Love surrounding us like the air.
Every day, we need this knowledge to lift us from our fears and save us from sadness, to fill us with the hope that all is well regardless of present circumstances.
Otherwise, we feel lost and alone, burdened by the unfulfillment, the weight of our failures or whatever present darkness gulfs the heart and clouds our hope.
The lifting up of Jesus is the sign of what is always true, what was always true and what always will be true. The heart of God is a heart of love constantly pouring itself out in the hope that we will see and know and feel the love that is always ours.
No love is won on Jesus’ cross. The cross is demonstration of the Love that comes seeking us in every time and place, in every grace and beauty, in every bright or gloomy day.
Every time awareness awakens our hearts to the truth, we come alive. We smile and flower. We bloom with the life that lies latent within us.
We are saved … and live.
Be lifted up today in my heart, Blessed One, that I may be lifted into the life only your love can give.
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
The punch line
The symbol of the cross layers so many intertwined meanings it seems impossible to sort them out. Too many, I believe, read these words and reach immediately for the idea of sacrifice and repayment of an offended deity.
God needed to be repaid for humanity’s dishonor to God. But who can pay God anything? No one. So God found a way to pay himself back for humanity’s fault by appearing on earth as a perfect human being.
This explanation is unsatisfying for many reasons, not the least of which is because it seems to turn God against God’s own self.
It also makes God incapable of real love and forgiveness. Anyone who must be repaid or appeased cannot forgive. They are merely engaging in the world’s tired tit-for-tat games that inevitably lead to hatred and revenge.
Virtually every Sunday school child is taught the famous words of John: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that those who believe in him may not perish but have eternal life.
There is nothing here about wrath or anger or sacrifice or paying God back. God is simply being the Love God is.
Jesus on the cross, with open arms, strikes out at no one … not even his persecutors. His arms are open to receive all the hatred, the vindictiveness, the rejection the world has to give … because God loves … the world.
That’s the punch line. God loves the world, this world where ISIS beheads journalists and kills children who are from the wrong families, the wrong religion, the wrong ethnic group.
God loves the world that hates and rejects God in the name of false and destructive notions of who and what God is.
God loves the world even those who turn away in mockery of our faith, acting as if they and this universe did not depend on an Eternal Source that breathes life out of nothingness.
God doesn’t seek to punish. God doesn’t destroy enemies … not even the enemies of God himself. God seeks no repayment from those who ignore or deny or turn away. God seeks only that we walk into those open arms and know … we are welcome as we are.
God is Love that transcends all human understanding.
Knowing this love … we begin to realize eternal life is this knowing, this experience of a love we cannot understand.
Pr. David L. Miller