Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

 John 1:16-18

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. 

Always new

Comedians have gotten much mileage telling jokes about how bad 2016 has been. For many the year cannot end too soon. We want something new so we can put the pain, struggle and ugliness of the year past year behind us.

But can we ever start again? Don’t we always carry the burdens of the past into the future?  Is the past even ‘the past’ since it always is with us?

It is, but so is the Love who can make us new every morning. Receiving and knowing the Love we are given makes us new even when the weight of the past clings.

Receiving is the way of freedom. As we receive grace upon grace, love from the Love who is, we move into a new year with hope and expectation.

No matter what the year brings the Love who is will be there, present to fill our hearts with the Joy and Love he is, even when we despair of what is happening in the world around us.

Life is a gift … received. So is living.

Each day we must receive and celebrate the Love who is, the Love who comes to us, the Love who lives in us.

And when the heart is empty or lost we must search for the places we are most open and able to receive the Love who is. Fullness of heart rests in knowing and receiving grace upon grace.

Maybe 2017 will drain our lives and drag us down as badly as the year now ending. Certainly, there will be days that seem too much for us.

But our hearts can be made new, even then, filled with joy and beauty, if only we receive the Love given to us by the Love who is ... always here.

Pr. David L. Miller                      

Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Luke 2:27-32

Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
   according to your word; 
for my eyes have seen your salvation, 
   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.’

Always in hope

It is easy to see Simeon standing in the temple courts holding this child, his heart filled with the joy of gratitude.

For many years he has waited to see the face of salvation, the beauty of God. Now, the One longed for lies in his arms.

He cradles him, like an old man looking into the face of the last great grandchild he will see before departing this life.

He has lived enough. He has seen too much of earth’s sorrows and struggle, but now he sees the one thing he needs to be at peace. He sees the face of the Love who is.

He can rest. He can let go of this life, no longer clinging for a few more months or days. When his time comes he will release himself to be carried away gently as a leaf floating on a peaceful current.

For he knows he is carried in the arms of the Faithful Love who lies in his trembling hands. He has waited, always in hope. Now he holds the Love who holds him and all time.

All his life he has been watching, hoping to see even the smallest signs of the One Love who brings healing to earth’s sorrows.

As are we, hoping to see and know enough of the Love who is that we, too, might live always in hope. And our waiting is rewarded. For the Love for whom we wait is faithful.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

 Matthew 2:13-18

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

Our safe place

Joseph’s anxious eyes survey the road behind his little family to see if anyone is following. He is afraid of Herod’s soldiers as he keeps his family moving toward a safe place. The child who is born to save a world needs to be saved from murderous hands so that one day we might see and know what is in his heart.

Herod, too, is afraid. He fears losing his power and is willing to kill infants on the odd chance that one of them might one day challenge his reign.

Joseph will find a safe place for the child and his mother. But Herod will kills dozens of children looking for him. Their mothers will weep the bitterest tears a heart can know, all because of Herod’s fear.

Fear kills. It kills the heart of our humanity before it destroys others.

But this child, Jesus, comes to save us from the fear that kills with the Love he is. Love drives out fear. The child Joseph saves is the face of the Eternal Love who conquers death and is the refuge of those grieving mothers.

He is our safe place, the Love who is always waiting to receive us no matter where we go or how far we wander. He is the Love who goes before us and is waiting for us at the end of every journey.

He is the Love and the Joy awakened in our hearts every time a single ounce of his love touches us.

‘Come to me,’ he says, with each new sunrise. ‘I am your refuge, the place fear disappears.’

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

 John 1:16-18

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. 


We are physical beings who express our loves and lives through outward signs and symbols that speak the truth within us.

Through even the smallest signs and symbols, we are touched by the heart of another and receive the love and blessing that fill us with joy … or which simply quiet our hearts in simple knowing.

What we see fills us with the reality of what cannot be seen. Theologians call it kataphatic, physical signs from the created order bear God’s own being into our own so that we may know without seeing.

We see Jesus, an infant in Mary’s arms. He heals and blesses. He feeds a multitude. He receives the wounded hearts of those who crave a welcoming embrace from a Love beyond them.

He breaks bread and gives it to friends, saying, ‘This is my body, my life, my heart … the very heart of God.’

A sign, a symbol that cuts straight to our hearts bearing the Love from whom all creation flows.

We see … and know we are enveloped in a Love we will never understand. All we can do is say … ‘thank you,’ and find signs and symbols to say what can never truly be said. 

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016

 John 1:12-13

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

Children of God

Children of God are known by the Love who lives in them, the Love who moves them beyond themselves so that they shine with great beauty, the Great Beauty God is.

Buses and cars left refugee camps near Mosul, Iraq, Christmas Day. They traveled to a bombed out town and a desecrated church surrounded by crumbling concrete and razor wire.

Outside, the cross had been broken down by ISIS. Inside, statues had been shot up and defaced, the head of one blasted off.

Guards with automatic weapons secured the door as people entered, lit candles and made it a holy space again. They sang ancient chants generations have sung there for more than 1000 years.

In the back, several U.S. service men lit candles and celebrated Christmas, listening to hymns of which they likely didn’t understand a single word. But it didn’t matter.

Their hearts were one with every syllable of those songs and the souls who sang them.

Unquenchable hope carried all of them beyond their fears to come hold candles against the darkness and know, in themselves, the Light no darkness can extinguish.

They are children of God. The flame of hope burns in their depths, awakened by the Love who becomes flesh in Christ … and in them.

I watched them, and Christmas came to my heart. Once more. I knew: These are my brothers and my sisters. We are made truly one by the Love who burns in us, living always … in hope.
Thank you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

 John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 

The day after

The Eternal Word, the heart and mind, will and the passion of God is summed up in a single face, the child of Bethlehem who shines with the Love who lived before time began.

This child, the unity of divine heart and human flesh, is the mystery of our lives. It is God’s way to become flesh, not just in a single child whose name is Jesus but in all creation.

The Word becomes flesh and speaks in every beauty, in every act of grace, in every beat of every heart. Day and night, sunrise and sunset in burnished glory all speak the name of God.

It is God’s way to take shape and substance, bringing out the endless possibilities of life from the Life God is.

But it is only in love that we truly know God and ourselves. For our lives, too, are the expression of the Love who gives birth to the world, the Love who shines in the eyes of every truest love.

Our true self is the Love God is, the Love shining from a Bethlehem manger. Little wonder that the glisten of love in another’s eyes, shining on us, fills us with life and hope.

When we truly know Love our truest self breaks every bond that holds us back and fills us to overflowing so that Eternal Love, the Great Beauty we are, becomes flesh, shining with grace and truth, filling us with the joy of Christmas morning. Once more.

Thank you.

Pr. David L. Miller