Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

 John 16:32-33

I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage, I have conquered the world.

Love’s victory

Wherever I go, whatever distance is traveled in miles or years there you are, always.

Your victory is that of uncontainable love that time cannot weary and distance cannot dim. You are ever there, ever loving and ever seeking my heart that I may know and become the Love that I know in you.

To know is eternal life, a blessed taste, now, of all that is to be, the joy you intend.

This is a knowing that transcends all study and every book. It comes amid the need of the heart for a true home.

To enter the peace of knowing, our hearts must risk despair and dare to trust that there is a Love beyond expectation,
a Love that wants and treasures the beloved,
a Love that takes down our walls, stone by stone,
a Love that enters the lonely enclave where we hide our pain,
a Love that endures, patiently convincing our doubting souls that it is true,
a Love that conquers our hearts … until we know what Love knows.

You are that Love. You have conquered the world and its hold on my heart that I may enter the peace of knowing, You, wherever I go and whatever distance is traveled.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, May 08, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

Know and shine

The way is the path of passion, the passion of the Holy Love for us … and in us.

Jesus loves his own and loves them to the end, all the way to the ugliness of the executioner’s cross. In him, we see the Great Love we cannot see; we see and know this Love is for us. Always.

As we see, the Great Love awakens in us, stirring the fire of passion that moved Jesus to love his own to the very end.

We are born for this … to know this Love, for us and in us, filling and spilling, moving laughter and tears, awakening the holy desire to be given away in love and for love, following the way of Jesus.

Every morning we awaken in hope that somewhere, somehow, through something or someone, the fullness of Love will warm us within, lifting us above the mundane that we may know the truth God is and feel the divine life in us.

Feeling the Love Who Is, our hearts fill and pour out their fullness in generosity and blessing that we might shine with the beauty of Jesus.

The way of Jesus is the way of joy, the joy of knowing and becoming the Love who is ever beyond us yet near as the warmth of hearts who know, who truly know.

So know … and shine.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

 John 14:6

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

Love’s way

The way is something we believe in and a path we walk. Walking is the essential part. Without the walking it is not a way, merely an idea we don’t quite trust.

Jesus is the way, a way many affirm but few actually walk even though it brings the most exquisite blessing our hearts can ever know.

For the way of Jesus is the path of seeking and knowing the Great Love of the Father, the Source, the Eternal Mystery from which we come and to which we go.

The way is seeing in Jesus the Love who holds us and everything that is, a Love who longs to live fully in us for this Love is our truest nature.

As our hearts truly know, we become as he is, becoming, too, who we are, each a unique expression of the great and holy Love who fills Jesus the Christ.

The way is one of knowing and allowing the Great Love to lead us wherever and to whomever it chooses. Just so, the way is one of knowing but also of not and never knowing exactly where and to whom the Great Love will lead.

But always knowing it is Love who bears us on and carries us into the great unknown the future always is.

Love holds us, lives in us and breathes through us, bringing joy and tears and exquisite blessing, even when it leads to the cross of suffering for Love’s sake, as with Jesus.

Even then, Love unites us in the heart of the One who is Love. And it is for this that we are born.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, May 01, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

 Luke 24:28-31

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 

Even today

It is the human dimension that tugs at my heart. The ache of longing. The hands that bless.

The two travelers on the Emmaus road know what they need. They need Jesus to stay with them. They don’t know why. They don’t even know that it is him. But they know that whoever this stranger is they need to be near him for reasons they cannot … and may not ever … understand.

Stay with us. Don’t go. We need you.

The heart has reasons the mind knows not of. I forget who said it, but it is true. Their hearts recognize the presence of the Love Christ is well before their eyes and minds catch on.

They feel something … someone … breathing life back into their hearts as they walked and talked.

Jesus is dead, or so they think. And here he is … with them … raising them from the dead, and they don’t even know it is happening.

Not until they see him take bread, bless and break it, and give it to them. His hands, extended to bless and feed more than their bodies

Then they know. They see the Love God is. They see the Love who had walked with them on the road, the Love broken like bread and given to aching hearts, the Love who walks with us every step of life’s journey, even when we haven’t the eyes to see.

Even when eyes do see, even when we least expect, Love comes alongside to breathe life into us. Even today. And every time, we smile and breathe the joy of Love’s precious presence.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, April 21, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

John 20:11-16

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew,‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 

Named in love

I miss my name. Once, I longed for the day someone would call me “Pastor.” I am still honored and blessed by that title, even though the older I get the more I blush knowing I am unworthy of the office I hold. There are so many others who are so much better, and I know my frailties all too well.

But my longing simply to be named ‘David,’ as at my baptism, has nothing to do with the struggle of living a life worthy of my calling.

The soul longs to hear a voice of love, a voice of intimate acceptance calling you by name.

We ache for that voice whose warmth tells you that you are truly known and cherished as the vulnerable human soul you are, a voice that finds beauty in the very vulnerabilities we hide from the world.  

The heart has ears to hear the voice of love, and in hearing we know we are one, intimately bound to the love who calls our name. The result is joy, always joy.

Something like this happens for Mary.

She weeps outside the tomb. Jesus calls her by name, and she hears the Voice of Love intimately calling her to know that the dream of Love’s triumph is not just a dream but true.

She knows … Love lives and calls us by name … that we, too, may know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

John 20:1-7

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there ….


Easter awakens the heart to what it most wants, not just life eternal but eternal life now.
We ache for a life where our heart flies free, unbound by the fears, wounds and struggles that keep us from being truly and wonderfully alive. The soul longs to breathe in full and utter confidence, unconstricted, relishing the joy of being alive.

Little wonder butterflies became symbols of Easter, new life wrapped in a cocoon, breaking free to flight.

The resurrection story is not simply about Jesus raised from death long ago. It is about us, what we long for, what we are intended for … and what we can truly have and know, here and now.

The linens that wrapped Jesus lay there. His friends pick them and know: He is no longer bound, no long wrapped in death. Twice the story tells us about the wrappings, as if to make sure that we know that nothing can contain the Life, the Love that is in him.

I long for that life that I know only in moments when I know Love so greatly, so completely that my heart is weightless. I fly. I hope, I know that Love embraces every earthly thing, fully holding and cherishing all that is and struggling to bring all creation … and me … to life that is Life.

It is this unconstricted Life of joy, love, freedom and holy purpose that is what God intends for each of us.

So I come here to sit in this place, hands on these keys. For it is here that the light of Easter morning warms the cocoon that binds me and sets my heart free to breathe, to hope, to love and to become the joy and beauty that lies within. For it is Christ who lies within, waiting for me to sit in the warmth of his Infinite Love that he might break through the cocoon and live more fully in me, filling my heart with life that truly is Life.

Easter lies waiting within. All we need do is to sit in the Love, the Life that shines from an empty tomb.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

John 11:21-23

Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ 

Even now

Hope doesn’t die, not for those who know the Love Who Is. Martha knows. I share her knowing.

Jesus comes to the place of Lazarus’ death. He greets his grieving sisters and friends and mourns outside his tomb before calling him back to life, unbound.

Today, Martha most compels me. Even now, she says. Even now my brother can live. Even now, after everything that has happened. Even now, after all these tears, all this grief and fear.

Even now, Love lives, the passion of God burns, the power of resurrection is present. Even now, I know, she says, all that love hopes for can be.

For even now, Loves living power is present in Christ, bearing the Love who is into the lives we live.

She speaks a remarkable faith, but this is not her accomplishment. No act of human will yields such surety.

It arises like the flowers of spring in hearts who have been embraced again and again by the Love who calls us from every tomb … and whispers, “Even now.”  

And the whispering goes on … until we know … what Martha knows.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Romans 8:11

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Breathing Life

It only takes only a moment to resuscitate the heart. A word, a glance, a second of seeing the Love Who Is streams heaven’s breath into human hearts.

The Spirit is breath, the breath of Love, the breath of Life, the breath of hope that what the heart most needs is not a dream but real and here and now.

When Love breathes the heart lifts, weightless and able to fly again, filled with gratitude for the Life of God that raises mortal flesh to life, not just then but in every moment of knowing.

Love’s single work is raising the dead, breathing the Life Who Is into the lives we are.

And all this that we may breathe Love and Life into each other … in a word, a glance, in moments of truly blessing each other for no other reason than the sheer joy of it.

We are vessels of Love’s Immortal breath. There is no higher dignity, no greater call.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

 Ephesians 5:8-9

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 

Bright morning star

You are the bright morning star that wakes me once more and wipes the sleep from my eyes.

You wake my soul, and again I know the Light that shines every morning and through the day, lighting even the darkness night with the light of Love you are, always there, without fail, anew every morning.

And you say, ‘You are light, lit by the unfailing Love I am … alive in you.’

Lit from within, I see you in children’s smiles and hear your crystal voice in song that fills my heart and lifts me into the great knowing.

This is the knowing for which we each are born, a knowing that comes only when you flood the heart with the light of the Love you are.

Filled with Light and Love, we know ourselves as for the first time, created vessels intended to be lit from within by the fire only Love ignites. Created, we are, to live the Light that shines from our eyes as we know … You.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mark 8:34-37

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

Losing and finding

So much of our pain comes from trying to hold fast to the joys and loves we have received. Long ago … and many times …  I have thought and said that we should hold everything we have and are in open palms, not grasping tightly in fear of losing the goodness of what is.

Holding our lives and loves with open palms, we can see and celebrate the beauty and joy of what we have received. We can give thanks, always knowing the wonder of the gifts of love that fill our hearts.

When we grip too tightly we fan our fears of the future, our anxiety about not being in control of what will be, our sorrow that we can lose what most fills us.

With closed grip on what is, we cannot receive what will be—the joy, the beauty, the love, the challenge, the life that is yet to come and which we can never quite anticipate. For the Loving Mystery always has surprises we can never anticipate.

Releasing our grip on what we fear losing, holding what is with open hands and hearts, our anxiety subsides. We can live with thanks and gratitude, ready to receive whatever comes next, knowing that it comes from a Heart whose love staggers us and always will.

We need not cling to what is, for whatever comes, comes from the Love who fills us and always will.

Pr. David L. Miller


Monday, March 06, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mark 8:34-37

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

Knowing Love is life

It is from the Great Love that we come and to the Great Love we go. In between these great unknowns, on the journey through our days, life that is truly is life, comes only as we know the Great Love, through whatever way this Holy One manages to find and fill our hearts.

Some speak of looking for God. I suppose there is truth in this. But experience shows that if we know the Great Love at all, it is this Loving Mystery who finds us, not the other way around.

This is how the great ones of the faith have described it through the centuries.

And once you are found, you know this Love goes on and on. You know you have been caught up in a stream which precedes your existence and will remain long after.

You taste that which the Scripture calls eternity, eternal life, moments in which you know this Love is … and that knowing and being and sharing this Love is all that really matters.

Everything else is, well, just everything else. 

Knowing the Love who is … is life, and when you are given the gift of knowing and tasting … even in moments that come and too quickly go … you know the Love who seeks us all, every day.

You know it is worth everything you've got ... and more.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Extraordinary Love

There is a Love which drives us beyond ourselves and what is expected to give more than we think we can …or should, more than any think reasonable.

This Love has a name, the name of the Crucified One, who is the face of The Loving Mystery no time has ever understood.

Who can understand Love that does not quail in the face of brutal suffering, a Love that never ceases to offer its enemies what they most need? And who needs this Love more than those who resist and reject its embrace?

The Christian faith does not call for reasonable action and attitudes. It always calls us to More, to know and be the More, to live the More that Christ is … and is in us.

That we should love our friends, our families and those who treat us well—this is expected. Reasonable.

Our hearts do not recoil from this. This is only just. But Christ calls us beyond what is just and right, beyond normal, beyond what every right-thinking person knows is good.

We are called by an unreasonable Love to live this Love—this Extraordinary Love—not in heroic moments but as our normal posture and orientation toward all we encounter.

Our failures to love are our friend as we journey into the Love Christ is. They daily remind us that our egos must die to our insistence that life must always make sense, that people must be fair. We must surrender the rage that boils at criticism and disrespect, however unfair they may be.

This is all beyond us, of course. No one can do it. Maybe the martyrs or those of remarkable spirit and piety. Unless: Unless we know this Extraordinary Love and live in its embrace every moment of our breathing.

Only then … in knowing … are we free from ego’s insistent demands. And Christ breathes the air of his Extraordinary Love through our lives. Even there.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Love’s surrender

The world is not fair nor is God. The sun warms the just and unjust alike. God makes no distinction.

Christians and those of faith are not spared disease or misfortune because they believe in Christ. God makes no such promise. They are as likely to have bad things happen to them as the rankest atheist.

This undermines the faith of too many who wonder why bad things happen to good people. They have misunderstood the nature of the Loving Mystery God is.

God is love. Love is not something God does, but who God is. It is God’s nature to love, to give the goodness of life and grace to all and everything, to everyone and in every moment.

God is a fountain of outpouring love, embracing the shoulders of everyone with the warmth of the sun and giving life-giving rain to the fields of those who acknowledge divine presence and those who think God a fiction.

If I understand anything of God, joy accompanies this outpouring. God delights to give the goodness of life and love. God eagerly gives. God may be compared to a person of joyful heart who meets each day with a smile, with open hand ready to share every blessing he or she has.

We know God in such moments of open-hearted giving. We enter the stream of mercy and joy that flows constantly from the divine heart. God is better understood as a verb than a noun, for God is movement, a stream of unending love constantly flowing through time and space.

Jesus’ command to love is not a command at all, but an invitation to enter the surrender your heart to this flow that seeks you anew every morning. Let yourself go. Let the warmth of this Love wash over you, melt your sadness and dissolve your resentments.

Just be and know this Love. Allow the Loving Mystery to awaken the joyful desire to smile on every face you see and bless every moment with your presence. This, of course, is not your presence at all, but the Presence of a Love beyond every imagination.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 30, 2017

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
To be what we are

For nearly 20 years I was privileged to write for and edit a magazine that covered the church and its work around the world. My proudest and most fulfilling memories of those days involved reporting from places of acute human struggle and suffering.

I told stories of people our readers had no other way of knowing or caring about. And how they cared! Their generosity moved me again and again. I say with no sense of pride that there are people who lived, who received food and shelter from war, terror and starvation, because my colleagues and I told their stories and captured their struggles in photos that shook people from apathy into action.

The faces I met in those days have been appearing more often in my mind’s eye, as I fear our nation … and our churches … could become much less empathetic, generous and welcoming.

I see them: refugee mothers nursing children on cold mountainsides in Macedonia, war-orphaned children in make-shift orphanages in Africa, parents bearing everything they can carry on their backs fleeing those bent on killing and maiming them in the name of some deplorable political, racial or religious ideology.

And I see shallow graves where people hastily buried their beloved along the road … then hurried on to avoid the same fate.

The faces speak to me as did the photos I once took for magazine pages.

I also hear Jesus words: Be what you are. Be the soul I have made you to be. You are salt and light, so shine and season this world with the light of the love I have lit within you.

In this time when it is easy to let anxiety or anger rule our hearts, we can turn from the world, immersing ourselves in private concerns and personal comforts. Or we can be who we are. Salt and light.

Theologian Walter Brueggemann has often prodded the church to an alternative way marked by practices such as hospitality to those unlike us, generosity to those in need and forgiveness to break cycles of resentment and vengeance. Our world, our nation and our communities have seldom needed them more.

The choice is always ours. Today, the faces of the suffering, the hungry and the refugee … like Jesus … are calling us to be ourselves … and to know the joy of Christ’s love pouring through us.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

John 1:32-34

And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

The joy of oneness

The experience of the Holy Spirit is that of oneness with God. There is an internal sense of unity with the great and overpowering Love God is, evaporating sadness and flooding the soul with peace and joy that may even be accompanied by laughter.

John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John says Jesus baptizes us, immerses us, with the Holy Spirit.

We are given the same Spirit that fills Jesus, and when we experience the Spirit we are graced to know the unity with the Loving Mystery in which he constantly lived.

Our experience of this exquisite blessing is not constant. It may last moments, minutes, hours or even days for some on rare occasions.

In these moments, we truly know Christ and are empowered to love as he loved, feeling the freedom of being completely one with the Love God is. We need nothing, for in this Love we have all we need, all we have ever wanted.

Sin, guilt, shame, fear are gone, replaced by joy. The Spirit, the Love God is, floods our spirit. 
Although we are distinct, there is no distance between God and out soul. In this awareness, guilt or shame over our wrongs and failures, small or great, disappear.

They are gone, and we are free to live, knowing the truth of the Love who is.

Moments of intense oneness fade amid the necessary routines of living. When they fade or distress comes remember the experience of the Spirit. It tells you who God is, who you who truly are and the joy God intends.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, January 02, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

 Luke 2:16-20

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hearing and seeing

It sounds simple. They hear, they see, they ponder and they praise.

The result of their hearing and seeing is joy. So each day, I ... we … should seek to hear and see the Love God is being flesh, incarnate and touchable in our lives and world.

This is the way of joy, the way of knowing, pondering, too, what we hear and see, and sharing it with hearts who can receive it that our joy might be complete. Sharing multiplies our joy.

Separation and isolation are enemies of the joy we would have as God wills it for us. So, too, is a steady diet of the critical commentary, negativity and violence that streams through much of our media.

Turn away from the culture of complaint and the need to criticize or blame others. They carry burdens, too, and are likely doing the best they can.

Slow down. Be. You cannot do everything you think you should, so do what is best and deepest in your heart. This is the gift you are given to share. How ever small it seems, it is more important than you know.

Take time to see and celebrate beauty, to share it and give thanks for the small graces of the day and the moments that speak of the Love who always is.

Listen for the goodness in the words of others. Don't take yourself so seriously, and laugh as much as possible, especially at yourself.

Remember the goodness you have known, the kindness you have received and the love which has touched and filled your heart. And say ‘thank you’ a lot.

It is all a gift of the Love who is and plays and becomes incarnate in every act of goodness, every beauty and the curve of every genuine, loving smile.

Hear and see and the goodness of the Lord.

Pr. David L. Miller