Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday, November, 11, 2015

 Luke 1:72-75

Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
   and has remembered his holy covenant, 
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
   to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
   before him all our days.

The God who remembers

The human heart hungers to be remembered. When we are forgotten we feel cast off, disconnected and without hope. The opposite of being re-membered is dis-membered, separated, broken in pieces scattered about. 

The human heart flees this terror. We long to be re-membered, our members—arms and legs, head and heart, body and soul—put back together and made whole, connected again with life.

In the days of his dying, Verel, a Korean War veteran relived the experience of war from his bed in a Nebraska nursing home. He crouched and curled up, feeling again the fear of crouching in a fox hole as artillery exploded around him.

“Remember me. Remember me,” he cried out again and again. This was his prayer. It's a good one. It speaks the deep fear of our hearts, crying to God to remember us in our distress lest we be torn apart by life and lost in death.

Verel’s prayer is everywhere. It stares back at us from our television screens in the hollow eyes of hungry children. It cries out in the fear of faces in war-torn places as missiles rain death from the sky in the darkness of night, destroying  towns and killing tens of thousands.

I head this prayer in every refugee camp I ever entered in my days of reporting. It didn’t matter what country or continent I was in. I saw it in their eyes and heard it every time they asked, “Does the world know? Are we forgotten?”

The prayer hits closer to home as I sit in a Bible study and listen as an older person wonders who will remember her when she is gone. Her children will remember, her grandchildren, too. But after that will she become an unknown face in an undated photo?

No, never. She will be remembered, her life whole and held in a Mercy beyond every expectation and hope. The refugee, the hungry child on the evening news, Verel, too, all of them—and us—remembered by the Loving Mystery who never forgets.

You are held, always, in the Love of the God who knows your name. Cast off all fear ... and know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday November 10, 2015

Luke 1:68-72
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people, he has set them free, and he has established for us a saving power in the House of his servant David, just as he proclaimed, by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times, that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all those who hate us, and show faithful love to our ancestors, and so keep in mind his holy covenant.
The God who comes

People of faith have one hope through all history, and God has one story to impress on our hearts so that we know our hope is fulfilled ... and always will be.

One story: The story of God coming to us, to love and bless, to warm our hearts when they are cold and fill us with hope when all hope seems gone.

God comes and always will come to us to give us the treasure of God’s heart, the unfailing love that gives life to we who fear and fail, just as God has promised.

I reject the language that speaks of God’s intervention into human lives. God does not intervene. There is no need because God is present all along. There is no moment when God needs to step into a situation to change things for the better. God is always there, a living, loving presence, a saving power who lifts us from doubt and despair so that we know we dwell constantly in the land of God’s abiding nearness.

Yes, times come when events turn and it seems as if God has finally heard and answered our prayer: a moment of healing, a friend who offers exactly the help we need, a sudden change in our fortunes.
All these and so much more are gifts from the God of Light from whom all blessings come.  

But make no mistake: God has already come, and God is always coming. God first came in the burst of light at the dawn of creation and has been coming to creation ever since.

God comes in acts of deliverance and mercy, in every act of justice and compassion in the history of our world. God comes decisively in the incarnation of the divine heart in our brother Jesus, and in the depth of our love and longing for life for ourselves and for our whole dying world.

God comes and will continue to come in every time, every moment, to every heart until all things are filled with the Love God is.

Pr. David L. Miller