Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Matthew 13:24-30

“Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Fields of gold

Watch the wheat. Keep your eyes on goodness and grace, beauty and care. You live amid fields of gold. Refuse to be distracted by the weeds within, and your soul will grow expansive and great ... like the heart of God.

In Nebraska, I lived on a knoll surrounded by broad where I witnessed the annual drama of planting, growth and harvest. Two moments of exquisite beauty never failed to move me.

In late winter, there always came a sunlit day when the warm rays reflected translucent green, the color of hope, as sun light illumined tender shoots, still encased in ice, as the wheat, long dormant, was raised to life.

Then came late June, when west winds stirred waves of wheat rolling like ocean swells across the fields. Golden stems, their heads heavy with grain, flowed like water, an unceasing tide of life across gentle slopes that stretched to the sunset.

There were weeds, of course, green and scraggly, that spoiled the perfection that moved my heart. But mostly, I looked beyond them to see the beauty of land and sky, the gratuitous bounty of the earth, eager I was to dig my hands into deep piles of harvested kernels and feel the life-sustaining kernels run through my fingers.  

This is how God sees the world and the weeds that spoil the beauty of life we each are. The Holy Love remains undistracted by the weeds, the problems, the evil that threaten the beauty and joy of this good creation.

God’s eyes and heart focus on growing wheat ... and will not risk losing one single plant, not one single grain. Not one.

We do well to imitate this, looking at the grain, the beauty, the hope, freeing our vision from fixation with what is wrong. For then the seeds of God’s life and love grow in us to greater harvest.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, May 14, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Acts 17: 28

He is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”….

Cardinals, too

A cardinal lights on a low branch of the bushes in front of the breezeway, seeking shelter from the rain under the dense, green canopy. I didn’t recognize him at first, my glasses being off as I read the morning paper.  But the distinctive spike at the back of his head soon gave him away.

A happy, noisy, red bird came to visit me again. That’s been happening a lot lately. They seem more plentiful this spring, and they never fail to bring a smile.

Today, he was in no hurry to leave. The rain kept him near, five feet at the most, and no fear at my presence distressed him as he waited out the drops, occasionally calling out, ‘tuu, tuu, tuuuu." I echoed his call with a breathy whistle which likely confused him. What could he possibly make of a 187 pound cardinal whose call sounds, well, a little sick?

Then, silent as he came, he flew off, leaving me a few degrees happier to have been visited by a colorful guest who shared shelter from the rain with me.

Gratuitous is the word that comes to mind. It was a little moment that is a gift, free, gratis; it just came without any effort from me, waking my smile and reminding me that I share this earth with wondrous creatures that delight my eye and gladden my heart.

Why should something so small and inconsequential in the great sweep of time change my day, lighten my heart and lift my vision toward greater expectations of the goodness of what life brings?

Maybe it starts with a simple faith, a fundamental trust in two things: first, that the wondrous Source of this universe is beneficent, generous beyond any and all expectations; and second that this mysterious Love is somehow present and sharing Love’s own substance in every moment.

In him we live and move and have our being. The One who is Love surrounds and inhabits us. Love is the substance of our being, of cardinals, too. 

Lovely when you are awaken enough to see it.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, May 11, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Luke 11:1-2

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 


“Teach us to pray.” There is a desire beneath the request: I want to know God.

All these centuries later, it is easy to imagine Jesus pulling away by himself and sitting in repose, resting in the Presence he calls Father.

It is easy, too, to understand that Jesus ‘friends wanted what he had. They wanted to know what he knew, this intimacy with the Great Loving Mystery.

What they didn’t know is that the Father shares the same desire. The desire of their hearts is the echo of God’s Spirit in the depth of our own.

The voice of God beckons. Come, sit in my nearness and know me; know the Love I am. Be here ... with me.

Love desires our presence. Love hungers for our attention. Love wants to give to us what this great God shared in intimate closeness with our brother, Jesus. Love wants to fill us that we may become the Love who is the Source of our being.

This is why are moved to pray ... to know the One Jesus knew.  Knowing God ... experiencing in our depths the Love God is ... is what we seek in prayer.

We pray for the kingdom of God to come, first, in us.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

Matthew 5:13, 16

‘You are the light of the world. ... Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

You are light

Who am I? This question is emblazoned on the heart of every human being. We come into existence having had no choice in the matter, given life as a gift and a question.

Yet, here the unspoken question of every human heart finds an answer: You are light.

The life in you is the energy of the most High God, a light unique and intended to shine with its particular radiance and color that God may be known and praised as the Holy Source of all that is good and lovely under the sun.

Glory comes as the light of God’s love is refracted through the prism of our being, divine light broken into particular colors and intensity as it penetrates, pervades and passes through our unique identities.

In the light of eternal love, each of us shines to illumine other souls, shedding the light of divine love and beauty on whatever small or large corner of creation God has placed within the compass of our lives.

You are light. There is no room for thinking yourself small or of little significance. There is light, joy, love, wonder, beauty and hope within you.

Open your heart and be what you are. The glory of God is you ... shining and alive with the light of an everlasting love.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Romans 8:14-17
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Glorious contradiction

There is a contradiction in the Christian life between immense joy and unquenchable yearning. It is a glorious contradiction that gives depth and meaning, awakening great love and hope in our hearts.

The Spirit of the Holy One cries out in our spirits at the wonder of life and beauty. We are surrounded by the greening of life as spring raises the dead from winter’s cold. Light and life, color and contour, delight the heart even more than the eye.

Filled with joy our hearts stream out in a cry as wide as the sky, “My Lord and my God, how wondrous you are. Thank you for this earth, for this life, for the wonder that I should be here under the blue expanse to see and feel all that surrounds me. Thank you that I should feel and know that I am your beloved child.”

Without quenching this praise, God’s Spirit within us also aches amid the pain and sorrow that stain every corner of creation. Hatred and hunger, poverty and pain, disease and distress, pollution and degradation mar the goodness of all God has made.

The Spirit groans in pain, but also in hope for the fullness of God’s plan to restore creation so that everything ... everywhere ... and every corner of our being is filled with praise for God’s glory, knowing only beauty and love.

We simultaneously hold both— the joy and the longing, the praise and the pain—living in this glorious contradiction, honored to know the Spirit of the Holy One within our own.

Pr.   David L. Miller

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


A scene comes to mind. It is near the end of the first century. A respected elder stands in the middle of a house lit only by candles. He holds a letter sent to a few Christian congregations in eastern Turkey. People fall silent as he reads to the group standing three deep around a bare-wood table, others sitting on the floor.

“God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing … he chose us before the world was made … he destined us to be his children.”

Us … even this the word blesses and brings joy. All these blessings, these graces, this immortal divine love is for us.

There is no ego, no hoarding in this scene. There is no room for boasting or exclusion. The words spoken and the truth they convey create a community of shared blessing where none can say that they have something others do not have.

They are joined in the mystery of grace. In the darkness of an Ephesian evening, the light in their hearts is much brighter than the candle light.

For they know: God’s eternal plan is to shower such divine love on all creation. And they feel it already there in the darkness.

This is why we gather, 20 centuries later. To hear, to feel and to know the mystery of the love that chooses us.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’ 

Anxiety’s gift

A very good man is in surgery as I write today. I know ... this happens every day. People get sick, physicians treat diseases and surgeons operate on people every single day, and the outcome is never a sure thing. That’s life.

But today it is someone I know, respect and love. I am one of many who fall into that category, and we all want the same thing for him, healing, restoration and hope for a tomorrow that is filled with the joy of family, faith and friends.

The anxiety of surgery awakens awareness that life is uncertain, unpredictable and, well, you just never know what can happen or how long it will be before the specter of disease or even sudden death will touch your family ... or you.

However anxious this day may be, this anxiety comes bearing a gift of depth and love. It awakens gratitude for God’s gift of life.

None of us calls ourselves into being. We are not the source of our existence. Life, breath, the simple reality of being is a mystery, a wonder given to us without our asking or doing anything to make it happen.

We are created, which means we are dependent upon the Source of Life, who ... we believe ... made us in the very image and likeness of God. And it is to this Loving Mystery that our hearts cry on days such as this.

We fly into the arms of God—our Maker, our sustainer, our hope—on the wings of our needs. So even on days like this, we thank you, O Lord, for you call us again to know you.

You made us for yourself. Sharing your image, our hearts find peace nowhere else ... but in you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Genesis 1:1-3

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.

Because I know

Morning breeze blows the steam rising from my cup as cars go by on the street in front of Starbucks. Air finally warm drifts across my bare arms, happy to be unsheathed after a winter too long. People park, enter the shop and emerge with cups in hand, continuing with their day.

Joy fills my heart because I know it is true: Everything that is, everything I am  ... is because of you. Joy comes with knowing everything I see and everything I am has a beginning in you.

You create that you may have one more thing, one more beauty, one more person to love. In the beginning there is just you, just the love you are. You call light into being, and I am part of that light even as the light of new day wakes the earth.

Finding a moment of repose in these early spring days, I feel the love that is in everything.

Your Spirit Heavenly One, sweeps over everything I see. One translation says the Spirit hovers over the deep. I like that: hovering, like mother bird keeping watch, delighting in everything you see, loving it and inviting me to love it all just as you do.

May I love it all today, everything that comes, every face I see. Loving as you will make it a very good day.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Friday, April 27, 2018

Isaiah 43:4-5a

Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you ... .

Precious to me

Listen, just listen: You are precious in my sight.

Know this, before anything else. You are wanted, chosen, beloved by God who will give whatever it takes to draw you into the divine embrace that you may know how loved you are.

You are the pearl of great price, the apple of God’s eye. The Holy One looks at you and smiles as we might smile at a tender child, a grandchild, a life for which we would give everything. The light of God’s gaze holds you in a warmth you are to know in the depths of your heart.

I am precious. Repeat this to yourself every morning lest you forget. Make it your mantra. Then go live your day, knowing. For in knowing, you will shine with light of God’s delight.

You will make mistakes and fail. Sin will mar your heart, your words and actions. We all sin and fail to fulfill God’s hope for us. Despair and disappointments will also come. But these moments do not define you. They can do nothing to change the heart of God.

Your entire relationship with God rests on one truth: You are loved with an everlasting love, a love that God delights to give you. This is the fundamental truth of your life.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, trust this. And live.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
   praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
   praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
   praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
   praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
   praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Join the joy

Spring is delayed. April got lost on its way north, but the sun shines, greeting us each morning with the promise of warmth to come.

Bird calls create an early morning cacophony across the neighborhood. This no symphony, more like the excited shouts of children just released from bondage into a tree-top playground.

These, too, give praise. Everything gives praise.

The joy, the excitement of every living thing, the color and texture, too, of the inanimate-everything speaks with whatever voice the Creator has given it.

Look around. Listen. You can see and hear the joy of creation giving thanks to the Loving Mystery from whose heart all things spring into being.

Thomas Aquinas, long ago, described God is Being Itself-or as Isness without limit. And this Great Mystery, who cannot be named, shares and pours out Being ... Isness ... so we and all things can be. We are alive with the life God is.

This may be a headscratcher, but look around. Every bird celebrating the morning, every stone and tree on my path, every dog and its walker I meet, everything gives praise in the joy of simply being.

Join the joy.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday, April 13, 2018

Luke 24:36

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' 

Where else?

If there was no other reason to believe that Jesus is divine, if there was no other reason for me to love him as I do, it is the word of peace he speaks to the friends who ran away from him in his darkest hour.

Peace, he says. Peace to the broken places in your heart. Peace to the anxieties about your life. Peace to your guilt and shame. Peace.

Let all other voices be silenced. Turn from everything that distracts you from the voice of the one who went all the way down into death and returned again to immortal life. Listen to the voice who tells you that the One who made you, the Creator who fashioned you, wants this for you, peace.

You are not condemned. You are not rejected. The things you fear may hurt you, but they will never take you from the love God has for you. Not now. Not ever. Peace.

Where else can you hear that word? And where other than the church, can you walk about with open hands, arms and hearts and greet other human beings, as mortal and fallible as you, with that greeting: Peace.

We may belong to clubs and sports teams, fraternities and sororities, neighborhood and community groups, wonderful organizations. But there is nowhere else human hearts greet you with this word for which we each crave.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

John 20:19-21

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’

One word

What do you need to hear? What words will resonate in your heart and set you free?

Jesus risen returns from death to speak lightness of being into our souls. He has one word for his frightened friends, “Peace.”

“Peace,” he says to the very people who abandoned, denied and let him down at his moment of greatest need. Shame and fear fill them.

But his word has extraordinary power, the power of life over death.  

With a single word, peace flows like a fountain from the heart of God, through Jesus and into them. They are lifted beyond themselves to hope and love, to joy and expectation.

Hear that word spoken to you, “Peace.” Repeat it to yourself.

The river of resurrection that flows from Jesus’ heart will roll through you. Shame will lift. Guilt will flee. Fear will fly.

A current of Love will carry you into freedom. And every moment will be transformed, filled with possibility for knowing and speaking the Love who has one word for you, “Peace.”

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Mark 16:6-7

But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 

Go see!

The calendar says ‘April,’ but spring is hard to find. The morning temperature is 26, snowflakes float aimlessly in a bitter breeze and the space heater at my feet drones on.

But look closer.

A cardinal perched outside my window calls for his mate. Crocuses push through crusty soil. Buds by the millions appear high on trees alive bird song.

Nature signals its resurrection. The time is near. No, not near. For us, the time has come.

We live in the time of resurrection. Jesus has come from his tomb. Death has no more hold on him. Easter shows us what God has wanted ... and been doing ... all along. God gives life to dead matter and raises it each time it falls. The truth of resurrection is written in the very fabric of nature.

In Jesus, we see death is powerless to stop the God who gives life, the God who is life. So go see! Go to Galilee, that is, to the common places in your life.

The risen, life-giving love of Christ lives there. You will see him.

Pr. David  L. Miller

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mark 11:15-18

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, 'Is it not written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations"? But you have made it a den of robbers.' And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him.

One thing the same

This is a very different Jesus than the one in my office.

Every morning I switch on the office light and see a painting I love on the opposite wall. Jesus is blessing children. A tender smile spreads across his face as he welcomes and touches children gathered around him.

But not here. In today's story, Jesus is violent, filled with passion and anger. He throws tables around. Coins clatter across the stone pavement of the temple court.

He rages at those who distract human hearts from connecting with God.

Jesus looks so different, but he is not different at all. One thing always remains the same. He hungers for you. He hungers for each of us to know God, heart-to-heart, and he hates everything that gets in the way.

What gets in your way?

Pr. David Miller

Monday, March 05, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Psalm 84:1-2

How lovely is your dwelling place,
   O Lord of hosts! 
My soul longs, indeed it faints
   for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy     
   to the living God.                                 

Dwelling Place

You dwell in the outer reaches of space yet are near as my breath. You are the light that opens my eyes as bird choirs chant your praise. You are the silent watcher who speaks in the night when sleep will not come.

There is no place you are not and no place you refuse to meet us. Wherever we go, you are there ... waiting.

Yet, you seem more real in some places than others. For the ancient Jews the temple was that place their hearts sang with the joy of knowing you.

But I come here, a gray chair, a desk in the basement quiet. This is your dwelling place ... for me. I know you in the sweet silence broken only by my fingers on the keys and the gurgle of steaming coffee.

I hurry down the steps to sit and listen to your word, craving that one exquisite moment when a word will carry me into a Great Love and fill me with joy and tears.

You are the Great Love who haunts my days and refuses to rest at night, for you long for me to know you. You crave me as much as I need you.

Having known and tasted you, nothing else can satisfy. There is no joy like simply being ... with you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

John 2:18-21

The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 

The place

Some places are holy. They are like temples, where heaven and earth are one and we taste the grace of God.

Some holy places are not places at all, but a person … or a group of people … in whose presence we feel and know God’s presence touching and filling our hearts.

We should hurry back to these places of presence … and to these people, look into their eyes and listen to their laughter. It revives us and breathes joy into our hearts. The life of God comes alive in us.

God is and can be known everywhere for God is an everywhere God. True, but this everywhere God is known in special places, and the temple was central for the Jewish people. The temple was ‘the place of meeting.’

Jesus says that central place of meeting was being replaced by his body. Knowing him, seeing him, praying to and with him, listening to him, being with those who know and love him … this has become the place where God is known.

Everyone and everything and every place where the Spirit of his grace and mercy breathes is the place of meeting.  

I recently heard someone described as a ‘safe place’ for the troubled people he served. He was not very religious, I was told. But listening, I knew, his life was a holy place, a temple of grace.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mark 8: 34-35

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.

Be large

Come into a larger world. See it. Feel it. Let it full your heart. It is right there ... where you are.

The world of Jesus is the community of love, the kingdom of God revealed in his every touch and healing, every time he blesses the broken, in his invitation to see every moment as a gift and every human soul as God’s beloved.

Give yourself to this, he says. Set aside your narrow ego, step beyond what it good only for you and seek this world of communal grace. Enter the struggle of living the truth of this world, and you will find yourself.

You will discover your truest heart and the love you were created to know and live. You will find the joy of hearts more beautiful and alive than any you have ever known.

And you will know me, your highest joy.

Life is not getting what you think you want or achieving the goal you imagine will make you important ... or happy.

You were made for this larger world where the Love breaks every boundary and makes your heart as wide as the sky. Anything less is beneath you.

You are Love’s precious child.

Pr. David L. Miller