Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Matthew 27:59-60

So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

Salvation had come

Care and sorrow … I am not sure which most moves me. Joseph tenderly wraps Jesus broken body, covering the oozing wounds, a final act of love for someone he barely knew—a man who had awakened a hope in his heart he did not understand.

He seals the body in a tomb, behind a great rock, with even deeper sadness. The flame of hope Jesus sparked now gone, extinguished, his word, all he was, soon to be forgotten. Buried hope.

Care and sorrow. They are not two emotions but the expression of a single truth. The love that filled Jesus awakens an answering love in those willing to hear and feel what was in him. Make that who was in him.

This is the way it works. The Love who fills Jesus awakens the Love that is God’s presence in the lives of those who listen and hear.

Maybe Joseph was moved by the dignity of Jesus presence, undeterred from his mission by the powers that would crush him. Maybe his hope was stirred by Jesus vision of another kind of world, a kingdom ruled not by love of power but by the power of love.

Maybe Joseph didn't have a clue what moved him to care for Jesus and grieve his destruction.

What is clear is the love Jesus awakened in his depths. And with that love, salvation had come to him, even as he tenderly wrapped that broken body and anointed those terrible wounds.

Joseph could not have known his buried hopes were about to be born.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Good Friday thoughts a little early]

John 19:30

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Not finished … ever 

Well, it’s done. Over. Finished. A long day’s dying is complete, and the forces that that refuse the One who is Love have won … again.

The world stays the same. The attempt to force the wheel of history to a course beyond the constant,  cycle of living and dying, gaining and losing has lost. And the cynics are correct. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Nothing has changed.

Our hopes for something truly new under the sun and in our hearts can be sealed in a tomb and locked away. We can try to forget the fire of passion Jesus awakened in our breasts and go on living, doing the best we can, knowing tomorrow is not a new day but the same old day over and over again until the grave finally swallows us up, too.

He is gone and too soon is all we see and love. It is finished.

No … never. For the Love that was … and is … in Jesus the Christ has completed its course of loving this world … and us … to the end, giving itself to reveal and glorify of the Love who is always and always will be.

The Love Christ is has reached the depths of human experience and revealed the height of the Love our minds and hearts cannot imagine.

What is finished is death. What is finished is guilt and shame. What is finished is our separation from the Love whom our hearts require to be full and whole.

What is finished is all the sin and pain that mars the wonder of creation and our precious lives. It is defeated by Christ who absorbed it all and gave back only the beauty of One Love who filled him.

What is done is the need to wonder if Love or death reigns. We have seen Jesus dying on the cross where Love is crowned and the glory of God made clear.

Soon the world shall see … a new day is about to dawn. It’s still Friday, but Sunday is coming.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

1 Corinthians 11:26

For as often as you eat of this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Circle of hope

My favorite experience of the Eucharist occurs every summer when we move our early service from the church building to a nearby park. Gathering under 100 year-old oaks in a grassy field, we form a circle around a table—one people, around one table with one loaf, one cup at the center.

Standing beneath those old trees, we hear birds sing as early morning sun warms our cheeks. We soak in the greening of creation, knowing all we are and see is a gift beyond our making. And we receive the bread that makes our circle a holy place where we know who Christ is and what heaven is like.

The great giving of Christ comes alive. It is the reason we are there, standing with open hands to receive what he freely gives. Standing together, we are connected to each other and millions more in a great circle with Christ at the center, a community of hope.

That circle is our hope—and God’s holy dream for all creation. We hope that every soul of every land and time will be drawn into this circle of sharing to know loving union with Christ and all that Christ loves.

No one ever asks if Christ is present in our Sunday circle. There is no need. We just look around … and know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday March 23, 2015

Isaiah 49:6

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
   to raise up the tribes of Jacob
   and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
   that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ 

In your eyes

I imagine your eyes, Jesus. Sometimes I truly see them and know what is there.

The tenderness in your eyes when you held and blessed children brings tears. But I also love the fire and anger there when you threw money changers from the temple and railed against arrogant Pharisees who parsed the law but cared nothing for the poor.

It is easy for me to see compassion in your eyes as your head turned side-to-side surveying the longing crowd, who were like sheep without a shepherd. Your eyes reveal your frustration over the dullness disciples who failed to understand you. And I see the quiet that filled them as you prayed by the lake.

Most painful is the desperation and pain as they tied you to a stake and whipped you bloody. I can barely look into your eyes then.

You are so real to me, and your eyes are lights into your soul, no, into the soul of the Loving Mystery who filled you.

Your eyes are a light, revealing the heart of the One who longs for us.

I look into your eyes and know what I need to know. But the mystery I see in you shines, too, in other eyes that glisten with the light of God, speaking a surprising love that finds and fills me even in these morning hours.

Two words: Thank you … for what I know in your eyes.

Pr. David L. Miller