Monday, July 03, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

 Matthew 10:40-42

‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’ 

Where joy is

Jesus is present in every love, every righteous heart, every word of grace, every act of justice and in every moment of kindness. To welcome any of these gifts is to receive the Great Giver who is the source and inspiration of every good and gracious moment we encounter.

I long to receive you in every good and gracious thing, Jesus. It is a joy to know and welcome you. But today my great joy is not receiving but giving.

Even the smallest acts awaken a surplus of joy exceeding any reasonable expectation. Writing an email to bless and encourage, greeting the dog-walkers as I tread my morning path, insignificant moments, yet in them I know your living Love flowing through me, lifting my heart to disproportionate joy.

Staying away from the Lord’s Table for one Sunday to soak in the sun, I feel a longing to bless, to speak of the Love beyond all naming. And there you are, telling me who I am. I was made for blessing, to stand with words grace on my lips, eager for ears to hear and hearts to awaken to Love’s presence even if it flows through a vessel as faulty as me.

Jesus, you invite us to pay attention and welcome all in whom the signs of Love appear—the prophet, the just, the kind and gracious. Welcoming them is welcoming you, Love’s presence among us.

But today, I feel myself on the other side of the relationship, a giver not a receiver.

I recoil from the honor and elevation of this. It is too great a thing to imagine that I am the prophet to be received, the righteous soul to be welcomed. I am none of these things.

Yet, I feel and know the grace you are flowing through me, Jesus. I hear my words … my words … blessing others. And in spite of my manifold imperfections, I know that I am vessel of the Love who is … and in receiving me hearts actually know and welcome the Loving Mystery you are. And I … I know joy, exceeding and disproportionate. Your joy.

St. Francis was right. It is in giving we receive.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, July 02, 2017

SUnday, July 2, 2017

Matthew 8:5-10,13

 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.

Trust love

Joy springs to life when we trust love. Extraordinary Love.

The centurion may not have ever met Jesus before, just heard about him. But he knew two things: Jesus had authority he did not possess. And second, Jesus employed his power to restore human beings to their fullness.

He trusts the Love that is in Jesus, the Love Jesus possesses for the lost and alone, the troubled and broken.

The centurion commanded 100 Roman soldiers. He understands authority. But he does not come to Jesus to command. He comes in humility, not on his knees, but as one who recognizes and honors the authority and power of one greater than he.

A perfect man he is not. He has slaves, an inhumane and abhorrent practice even if it was common in his day. But Love is working in him. He loves his servant. He wants him healed.

The centurion is a man on the way, like me, like every human being, on a journey in which we are invited to know and to trust Love … and be transformed by joy into something more alive and beautiful than we are.

Who knows what we may yet be? Only the One who heals and makes alive, the Love we can always trust.

The centurion makes his request and returns home. He goes his way more alive than he has ever been. He has entered the joy of knowing the Love who is always for us, the Love who touches and makes us whole.

Pr. David L. Miller