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.
Then the glory of the Lord shall
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has
You are the glory
door of our souls, O Lord, and release the river of Love flowing from within
that we may shine with your glory.
We see the
glory of the Lord in snowscapes of winter, the grandeur of mountains and the
yawning immensity of space littered with billions of galaxies. We are moved by
sunlight broken into spectrums as it streams through window panes and plays on
walls and floors.
is alive with the glory of God, but the greatest glory of all is our own human
souls made free by Love God is.
the prophet, saw the vision of a freed people on their way home from bondage,
released to truly live again by the Love of the Eternal Mystery whose will and
ways are embedded deep in the working out of history.
their way home across wilderness and wasteland. But with each step they
realized they were already home … even though the miles stretched out before
themselves being carried forward by the One Love who came to their aid,
comforting their souls with the freedom that comes only when one is filled with
the love who is Love.
step, they came to know the glory of God is a soul filled with the ecstatic freedom and
gratitude Love releases in the human heart.
your eyes shine with a light and glory more luminous than
all the galaxies God ever imagined.
you know: No other glory is quite so bright.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
The holy way
There is a
way home into the heart of God. I walked it last Monday night.
with anxiety about the uncontrollable future, I went to a favorite place to
pray. I prayed aloud, my voice echoing against the brick walls of the tiny
chapel, and I was utterly honest, holding nothing back.
I named my faults and
uncertainties, my failures and fears, self-doubt and inner accusations. I
surrendered the absurd delusion that I am or should be more or better or
different from the needy, fallible human hearts I meet each day.
I was humbled,
knowing I but one more human soul who can no more control the future that he
can erase the past.
I made no
promises to God about doing better, for I cannot assure myself or anyone else
that my efforts to live and love and serve will by any better or worse than
they have been for years.
of pride fell to the chapel floor. And my valley of sadness and shame was
revealed as a product of the arrogance that I should be something more than
surrendered to my life and limitations as they are, releasing the mind’s
ceaseless chatter about what could or should or might be, accepting life’s
circumstances and situations as the reality I must live.
surrender brought peace. It stirred hope. It calmed the anxiety. It released
everything to the Holy One from came a calm I could not give myself.
seems, is born as you abandon yourself to your human limitations and situation,
and open yourself to what God may bring.
This is the holy way, the way the
heart opens to God and begins to feel the stirring of life that is Life and
Love that never dies.
A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
The voice of hope
Wilderness is not a dry
rocky space where life is hard. It is not a trackless thicket, a forest where
you cannot find your way.
It is where you get
lost, where you lose yourself and you forget who you are, your truth and value.
Wilderness is the
anxiety that grips you difficult days when you can find no peace from which to
draw strength. It is living with complicated relationships, navigating conflict
and wondering if you really see things as they are.
For the prophet Isaiah
the wilderness was the wild, rough landscape separating his people, Israel, from
Judea, their home. Exiled in Babylon, they flew across the wilderness on the
wings of imagination to survey the ancient hills and see Jerusalem again, the
place of Presence where the Holy One was known and worshiped.
This was home. But their
homes were long abandoned and the ruined temple was a pile of scattered stones.
And they were far away, lost and captive, fast losing their courage and the memory
of what it felt like to know God’s presence filling their hearts. They ached to
feel whole and beloved again.
The Bible does not
tell us the identity of the voice who cries out, “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Whoever it is, this is
the voice of hope. It speaks to ancient Israel … and you, making God’s message
clear: “I will not forget you. You are always
on my heart. I will come to you in your wilderness that you may come home and know the Love I am.”