Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Isaiah 9:3-5
You have multiplied the nation,
   you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
   as with joy at the harvest,
   as people exult when dividing plunder. 
 For the yoke of their burden,
   and the bar across their shoulders,
   the rod of their oppressor,
   you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
   and all the garments rolled in blood
   shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 

Hope of the hills

My mind wanders to ancient hills, Holy One. It takes flight and circles the globe, hovering over sandblasted hills in deserts and ancient lands where people have lifted their hands to pray and praise you for thousands of years.

I see their descendants there, still with open hands and wounded hearts, and I wonder: What does it feel like to stand in ancient churches and pray with Christians in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East?

It has been too long since I had this privilege. Praying with them, I felt connected with an ancient hope and heritage, filled with respect and love for souls who have endured more than I can imagine.

I have not seen my church destroyed. I have not entered the sanctuary on Christmas Eve fearing bombs planted by those who hate me. I do not look around at empty pews missing the faces of those who fled for their lives … or died trying. I don’t know anyone who was tortured for saying the name, Jesus.

But I know and have seen the faith of such souls. The prophet’s words excite a hope in them we cannot imagine. They know the tramp of soldier’s boots and garments rolled in blood.

Their prayers burst from the urgency of fear, crying out in hope for God to come break the yoke of oppression and bring compassion to the nations.

Come, Lord Jesus. 

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monday, November 29, 2015

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined. 

Blessed darkness

Light streams through western windows, stained glass painting sunspots blue and gold across the church floor, whispering, “Come, sit here for a while …and know.” 
Know? Yes, know that light is the love of the One who is Love warming the winter heart until it glows, at peace and happy just to be alive, filled with praise for the joy of knowing you, Holy One. Thank you … for sunlit moments when I know you.
But days come when I feel lost and alone. All I am and ever have been seems but a wisp of smoke, dust in the wind, soon scattered and forgotten. Darkness hangs heavy on my heart, shutting out light and joy, old feelings I have known since I was too young to remember.
And yet, thank you … for the darkness. It is more friend than foe. For it brings me to my knees, aching for the Light of Love to appear in the depth of my soul and revive me once more. 
It drives me beyond myself to surrender in tears, there to find the Light who finds me, the Love who is always there, waiting for me, the  Presence who appears within when I release the contortions and confusion of my heart to you … who wants all of me.
You are always there, the Light in the land of darkness.
I feel your knowing smile, appearing even as I sink beneath waves of sadness. You know I will soon come home to the Light and Love you are. So thank you … for moments when darkness threatens; they always lead me back to you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, November, 29, 2015

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined. 

Morning praise

Pink rims the horizon as the day’s first rays light limbs once dead, now draped with the season’s white garland, shimmering the eye and heart. 
Winter falls, but not on our souls. For this day is bathed in light, and light lifts our hearts, awakening awareness of the goodness of life and all that lives.
We move our chairs to catch the rays and allow them to penetrate to our core, basking in this gift given from the generosity of you, Loving Mystery, who called it … and us … into being.
It is as if we know our hearts will die, cold and lost without the golden gift of morning that awakens our bodies and stirs our hearts to the beauty and goodness of life, a new day a, gift given that we might know the goodness of you, the Giver. 
Light is life. Without it there is no life, no growth, no glorious dazzle of daybreak pinks and purples on white snowfields delighting our senses and making us glad we are alive. 
You are Light, Holy One, the Light from whom all light flows to bathe this old rock we call home. In the light, we know the Light you are, and in the darkness we feel your absence, awakening longing for morning to brim eastward and wake our hopes again for love and life, for peace and the beauty to warm our hearts and stir praise in our hearts. 
Thank you, O Lord. Thank you for coming to the dark places to lift my soul. You are light, and you shine in every love and grace-filled moment. 
Chase away every darkness and fill us with hope for every tomorrow.

Pr. David L. Miller