Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Romans 12:9-15

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 

To be ourselves

Who knows how and when love will appear? What stirs the heart until you notice love is there, in you, love you didn’t summon or even seek, love that simply appears?

Love is a gift that must be lived lest the heart’s embers cool and we forget the joy of being moved beyond the prison of ourselves into communion with another human heart.

Love is our nature, created in God’s image, the image of the Love Who Is beyond all imagining. Our truest joy and deepest pain comes in knowing and living the Love that is God’s nature and ours.

Love lives in blessing and sharing, in giving and forgiving, in standing with those who suffer and celebrating with those lifted into joy by life’s sweetest blessings.

Every act of love is an expression of our truest nature and of God’s heart.

But what stirs this love so that it bubbles from our depths and nudges or nags or demands that we do something?

I think it is seeing the need or beauty of another human heart. We truly need to see each other. When we see need or the beauty and joy of others the love that is God’s nature in us is stirred. We are coaxed beyond the narrow confines of busy self-interest to become the love we are.

Then, we have a decision to make. Shall we ignore what is moved in us, deny it or pretend we are too busy to care, to bless, to rejoice or weep with others? Or will we be who we are, the image of a Great Love, the hands and voice of God’s unending compassion?

The call to love is the call to be ourselves, to know the joy of it … and the pain that lives, too, in God’s heart for the brokenness and suffering of the world.

If you want to see people being themselves, turn on your TV and watch the boats churning the waters of Houston’s flooded streets. Watch people wading through water to rescue people from inundated homes. Look at the faces of those clinging to their rescuers. See the pain and relief, the determination and the joy.

This is the face of our truest selves, the face of Christ living in people like us.

Seeing this, how could we want to be anything else?

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Romans 12:1

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 

Beautiful souls

Jacques Marquette left France likely knowing he would never return.

Marquette was a priest, a Jesuit, sent to ‘New France’ to proclaim the grace of Christ to peoples unknown to him before arriving in the new world. Now, his statue overlooks the harbor on Michigan’s Mackinac Island.

He stands on a grassy hillside beneath the fort whose cannons guarded the strait connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. His dates, 1637-1675, speak of a soul given away to a Love he couldn’t deny.

He died just short of 38 years old after starting several missions, founding the oldest town in Michigan and bringing the faith I hold dear to native peoples. During his short life, he also explored the Mississippi, the Wisconsin and the Illinois rivers with his native guides, once wintering in Chicago.

Towns, universities, rivers and many landmarks are named for him. But it is his dates and the fact that he left home not knowing if he’d ever return that moves me more than the morning sun on the rich, blue waters of the strait over which his iron eyes keep silent watch, day and night.

Today, vacationers sprawl on the grassy hillside around him, soaking in the beauty of this place as thick Belgian horses clop by pulling wagons of tourists. Ferries sound their horns as they leave the island, while others arrive disgorging their human cargo onto the main street where fudge shops and shirt stores are eager to receive them.

But the noise of trade fades on this green expanse where Marquette stands vigil.

All I can hear is his heart. All I can feel is the beauty of his soul, so taken by the mercy of God that he gave himself to this work and died an early death. He inspires devotion but also makes you question whether you have ever given yourself to anything more than your own comfort.

The forests and lakes are beautiful underneath Marquette’s ever-watchful eyes. The morning sun shimmers on gentle waves and makes me glad I have senses to drink it in and give thanks.

But it is not they that most move me. More lovely by far is the beauty of souls, the souls of those who know Love and in love give themselves away.

There is nothing more beautiful.

Pr. David L. Miller