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.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my
chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have
put my spirit upon him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
The Spirit of God’s Holy Presence is gentle and
strong, tender to the weak, challenging to the oppressor and a word of hope for
we who hunger to see and know God in our lives.
We see the Spirit of the Holy One in the lives of
those who know how to love, how to give from their heart.
We know God not in acts of power that protect us from
the normal troubles of life, but in the lives of those who lift the hearts of
those beaten down by disease, prejudice and forces of history they cannot
control. We see the Spirit in those who seek justice for those denied the
blessings God intends for every human soul.
They radiate the beauty of God. They give hope where
it is failing. They are a light amid the darkness that sometimes engulfs human
The Spirit is the presence of the Love God is, healing
broken hearts and standing with those oppressed.
There is a new atheism taking hold in western nations that
rejects God as unreal. But the god they reject is not the God we meet Isaiah, the
One who sends his servant to bring freedom to an enslaved people and who tenderly
cares for the weak.
They do not see Jesus as that Spirit-filled servant of the One who refuses to pay back evil for evil, but who loves amid the forces
of rejection. This God is God, our hope.
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for
you. Do this in remembrance of me.’
I feel your heart, Jesus, and more than anything I want
all who are near to feel it, too.
It happens most every week. I hold high the loaf and
repeat your words. “This is my body … broken … for you.” Some days I can barely
say them as tears of knowing fill my eyes.
I know you
as the words cross my lips and I break the bread. If I should be so bold, I
feel what you felt. I know your desire. I know what you wanted your friends to
know: “This is my life, my love, yes … the infinite love of God … for you.
“It is my delight and deepest desire to give you this
life. I want you to break bread, remember and know … there is a Love who always
wants you, always treasures you, a Love who has known you since before the
birth of time. Always know.
“Oh, you will forget. You will get lose yourself in
the details of living. You will know hurt and shame and disappointment and
begin to doubt that my love is real. You will fail me … and yourself. Sometimes,
you will feel lost and a million miles from me. And the deep desires of your
heart will not always come true, perhaps not ever.
“But even then, especially then … hear my words, receive
this bread … and know what is in my heart … for