Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Luke 12:15-21

And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

Breathe the air

I just came from a time with men of the congregation who eat and talk on Saturday mornings. Right now the topic is what Martin Luther said, a treasure of faith and grace mixed with a bit of vitriol that sooner or later moves us to take something to heart and carry it with us as we go out the door.

I carry the prayer one member offered before we left: thanks for the trust that allows everyone to ask questions and say what they mean.

Our gathering table is free space engulfed in an ocean of fresh, clean air. The men are who they are here, no airs or egos competing for prominence, just guys talking.

Laughter is easy … and authentic. Who is more successful as society counts it is irrelevant. You are more likely to hear guys talking about their follies than their triumphs, an altogether humanizing experience in an atmosphere of acceptance.

Conversation complete, we go to noisy families or the ache of empty houses, to errands, chores or sporting events, carrying away an idea or two, maybe, but mostly the joy of being together with no demands to do or be or produce anything in particular.

The surprise is that doing and being nothing in particular makes us … or at least me … more alive than when I walked in the room. Why?

Perhaps it is the connection with others who come together trying to know something of the mystery of God and the mystery of our lives.

Perhaps it is the freedom of being human together … trying to live lives of faith and grace in the time and place in which we find ourselves not by choice but chance and the will of God.

Whatever it is … being and feeling truly alive is not about abundance of possessions or the accumulation of accomplishments. It’s about life in community where the Love God is … is the air we breathe.

Like the air … Love is always here. Just breathe.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mark 9:35-37

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Welcome the child

To welcome a child is to welcome the presence Christ is within them and within oneself. For Christ is present in the need and desire to love and be loved, to know connection that shatters the fears and feeling of being separated, alone.

We are not made to be alone. We are each an image of the Great Love who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Holy Circle in which gracious self-giving flows eternally from one divine person to the next.

This is the self that lies deep within each of us and certainly each child. It is closer to the surface in children for they have manufactured fewer layers of ego to protect their tender hearts.

They have greater access to the reaches of the inmost heart, receiving and loving naturally and freely. We who are older must overcome anxieties about sharing the love we feel and receiving the love we need.

In this giving and receiving we become what we are, souls made in the image of the Great Love. We share in the Holy Circle of Love God is, and it becomes larger in us and the world.

When we welcome a child we welcome the child Christ is within us.

We invite the holy child to grow in us, to become flesh in our flesh, to ring warm and true in our words and shine in our eyes.

When we welcome the child the world has one more face in whom the Face beyond all Faces shines … for all with eyes to see … a most exquisite beauty.

Pr. David L. Miller  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mark 9:33-35

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’

Just be

Jesus’ words invite freedom and relief, and I feel a bit of both when I imagine meeting whomever I will meet this day.

I can just be. There is no need to impress or be smart … or be anything other than myself. It’s enough to give what I can, share what I know and do the work that needs to be done.

A terrible task master is being laid to rest in me: ego.

No longer is it so important to be better than others or to be seen as someone more traveled or accomplished. I am what I am, and whatever I am is to be shared with those given me in this life.

It is the ego-self that drives one to pretend, to place a high value on how others see us and to strain to become more powerful or important. Anxious ego needs to still the anxiety that we are not as acceptable or good as those with whom we compare ourselves.

All such comparisons destroy our peace and keep us from discovering and knowing ourselves, our depth and heart, our true beauty.

Just be, you seem to say. Just be. Surrender the anxious desire to be first. Worry about nothing.

Another self, more beautiful than the one you polish up for the world to see, lies within you. Share what you have and who you are from the heart, and your heart will be full … of my heart … and peace.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mark 9:33-35

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’

Now I know

Choirs sang to me yesterday, a church full of people, too. It was my birthday, and they blessed me so richly tears flooded my eyes and gratitude my soul.

But I had already received my birthday gift even before they sang.

I went through years when Sunday worship brought little if any connection with God. The deep filling of my heart came in the quiet places of my life where I would meditate and listen in my soul for the Soul of the Universe.

And I heard you, Loving Mystery. But the assembled gathering of people to worship, sing and pray seldom penetrated my heart or opened my soul to the wonder you are.

Sometimes songs touched me, and I felt connected. Music has always been a great gift and blessing for me.

But most Sundays I was content to retreat by myself to a place where I would read a few lines of Scripture, meditate and be carried into awareness of the Holy Presence. Alone with God, I knew an exquisite grace in which I fell silent … and knew a Fullness of heart beyond words.

Such moments are still come for me. But a change has occurred.

Sunday, breaking the bread and distributing communion the flow of faces and open hands awakened waves of great love and joy that required me to blink hard to hold back the tears brought by the gracious beauty of this thing we do together.

We are bound in a Great Love, joined in a Great Giving of life and You, Holy One, are this Great Love, this Great Giving … this Great Beauty that so moves me.

Sharing the grace of these moments there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than in this sunlit room sharing the food of blessing with this people who blessed me, one-by-one, with the privilege of breaking bread and serving them the grace beyond all graces.

I still love my quiet spaces, the moments when my heart is full and my fingers find these keys. But now I know: Standing in the assembly, serving the Great Love we receive together, there is nothing greater.

Pr. David L. Miller