Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

Luke 23:42-43

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’

With me

The most sublime desire of our human hearts finds satisfaction here: You will be with me.

This is what we most need, to be with the Love who seeks always to be with us—and is, right there on the cross.

The Loving Mystery seeks us where we feel most lost and alone, most forgotten and cast off, when our hearts have no hope and surrender to sadness and anger.

Even there, especially there, God is present, sharing our pain and full of promise. Today, you will be with me in paradise.

Isn’t this what paradise is? It is to be with this great love, to know great love embracing all that you are, pain and joy, sorrow and hope. It is to be aware of this great love deep within, bubbling with hope that you are not and never will be lost.

And you won’t. For everything that is and everything you are is encompassed in this great love from whom we are never separate and with whom we will always be.

God’s nature is most clearly known in the cross where great love hears our cries, shares our sorrows and bears us into the paradise of the divine, loving presence. Today and forever.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Colossians 1:15-17

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible … all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

You know

You have seen the beginning … and know the end.

You know the One from whom you come and the One to whom you go at the close of your earthly journey. You know the energy of life and love who holds all creation together, seeking ever to draw all things into loving unity.

Everything is destined to become one, united with the Loving Mystery who reveals the divine will in our brother and Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Look at him. Imagine his face blessing children and healing the broken. Imagine, too, how he rebukes all who would burden our souls with injustice, guilt or harsh demands. Look and know: He is the beginning and end of all things … and of each of us.

Jesus is the face of the eternal Christ, the cosmic Christ who works in all things since before the beginning of time. He reveals what is and was and will evermore be, a Love who creates and draws all creation into unity with Immeasurable Love.

The fullness of the fullness of God lives and speaks, blesses and heals through him. So we know: The beginning is life and love … and the end, too.

Look at him and know. Look at him and live.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Psalm 24:7

Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in.

You are the reason

You were not created to live in fear but with joy, to welcome the victor over every fear each new day.

God is like a victorious warrior returning from battle to Jerusalem. The city gates are thrown wide open in ecstatic joy to welcome the victor to the holy place, the temple, to shower the blessings of divine life and love, replacing anxiety with elation, sorrow with tears of joy.

The gates cannot open quickly enough to receive the victor in whose presence our souls brim, safe in the embrace of divine favor.

With each new day, we can pray, ‘Lift up your heads, O gates!”

Open the gates of deepest soul and welcome the Love who is victorious over all that furrows your brow and fevers your heart. This Love, this Holy One, comes to you anew every day, filled with the blessings of love and life.

Receive and know the victory God has won for you in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. No death can hold him … or you. No sorrow is so deep that he cannot find you and break its hold.

You are the one for whom he has won the victory. For you, alone. Even if there were no others in the world. So lift up your gates. You are the reason.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Jeremiah 23:4
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold

With an everlasting love

The desire of God is for you.

The Loving Mystery seeks always to bring the broken home, to find the lost who are scattered, to draw the beloved into the divine heart that we may live beyond every fear, knowing the everlasting love that refuses to let us go.

This is the will of God for which we pray each time we gather and innumerable times on our own: “your will be done on earth as in heaven.”

The Holy One creates us that we may live in a community of blessing, gathered with all God’s people and guided by caring shepherds who reflect the divine heart.

In Jeremiah’s time, the shepherds—kings and leaders—failed to protect and nurture the people of God. They did not seek God’s will for the land. The nation was scarred by faithlessness, invaded and the population carried into foreign exile. Bad leaders divide and cause ruin.

But God’s passionate love does not wane or cool. With an everlasting love, God promises to begin again, in every generation, to gather the beloved into the divine heart where every fear and terror can be stilled in the community of blessing.

This is God’s promise, fulfilled in the saving one, Jesus the Christ, the faithful shepherd who seeks always to bring us home.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Isaiah 25:7-8

And he will destroy on this mountain
   the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
   the sheet that is spread over all nations; 
   he will swallow up death for ever.

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken. 

Say, yes

There is a future beyond every future, a time beyond the present when the dreams of God and hungry souls will come true.

The dull shroud of death will be lifted by Love, who will wipe away every ounce of sadness that has ever creased our brows.

This is the promise, an eternal promise that has never changed through the centuries. It is written in the heart of God and echoes in our own hearts.

We hear it in every human cry for deliverance from the evil that haunts our lives, striking when we least expect even in the places where we most seek peace, our sanctuaries, our homes,  our circle of friends and even in the inner workings of our minds and bodies.

The shroud of evil, the powers that hate and destroy life, shadows our existence, something we manage to forget only on the sunniest of days, and for our nation … this is not one of those.

But even now the divine dream comes true. It is real. The hope of hungry hearts touches us in every act of decency, every ounce of compassion and care and in every heart that refuses to hate.

Refuse every thought and word of hatred that clouds your soul and darkens the shroud that weighs so heavily on our society and world.

Say, “Yes,” to the Love who promises a future beyond every future. 

Say, “Yes” to love, for every love is the appearance of that future even now in this time.

Say, “Yes,” for love is the presence of the Love who shakes off the shroud, dries our tears and breathes joy into our lungs.

Say, “Yes.” The holy future happens every time you choose to love and bless.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Jeremiah 31:8-9

See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Ever-searching Love

The sweetest tears are those of coming home to who you are and where you belong.

We are treasured children of a Great Love who never stops searching for us in all the places we lose ourselves and forget who we are.

We spend days, years, even decades lost in a world of busy demands that crowd our minds, pushing and pulling us to be something or someone other than our truest selves.

Meeting the demands of the day, we forget and fail to pause and drink from the depths of that stream of living water that makes our hearts new, a stream that never runs dry.

But we are never fully lost, for the Great Love God is never stops searching for us in all the places we lose ourselves.

God is the ever-searching love who never stops, never gives up, never turns away, finding us along our wayward paths, gathering the beloved into a community of souls where one love is known and shared, where one love fills every heart, overcoming every division and imbuing every relationship.

There is no difference or division from Old Testament to the New. Our loving God has always been about one thing, creating a community of Great Love where we know who we are and where we belong.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Job 38:1, 4-7

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

Join the song

Autumnal glory explodes across the western sky as an October sun sinks low, brilliant and burnt orange painting the horizon and reaching high to touch eternity in a final hallelujah for the light of the day that was … and the promise of the new one yet to be.

And I am alive to see and praise the Maker of the light beyond and within me, who graces my soul with the capacity for wonder and love. For it is love I know within and beyond the beauty of this Friday moment, a largeness and smallness, too.

For my heart is enlarged to embrace the wonder and grace of being alive and able to feel beauty and love that lifts me beyond words. And I am small, wonderfully small, struck dumb by the wonder of existence. Why should I be? Why should anything be … let alone …this?

Science tells me it took nearly 15 billion years to produce the glory of this speechless moment when the heavens declare the glory of the Loving Mystery whose breath gives me life. Fifteen billion.

But every moment was worth it. Every moment held within the promise of what my eye beholds and my hearts knows.

And it is love … no, Love, I know as my heart joins the song of the stars, the joy of those who know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Mark 10:43-45

Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

What for?

It is for freedom that we live, to live free … and to set others free from whatever enslaves them. This is the divine purpose which Jesus lived every day.

Every morning he woke knowing his holy purpose, the mission assigned to him by the Loving Mystery he knew as ‘Father.’ And he didn’t forget this, ever. It was always at the forefront of his mind: I exist to release the bodies and souls of those for whom I am sent.

To know Jesus is to know the freedom of heart he gives as we enter the circle of his love, into the communion of those who know a Love like no other.

To follow him is to give the gift that is uniquely yours to give, to offer the service and sacrifice that releases the heart and empowers possibilities of another soul whom God so loves.  

The daily question for followers of the way is, ‘Who and what am I for, today? Who will enter a more fulsome and joyous life because of what I do and say? How can I set one human heart free … today?’

You exist to set hearts free with the Love who is in you. This is your greatness, the most noble of vocations.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

John 4:13-15

Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty.

Full hearts

There truly is no end to thirst in this life. None. Desire never ends. It is always there at the base of every other wanting in our lives.

This is who we are. We are created by Infinite Love, fashioned in the image of Love Unlimited. Just so, we thirst for Infinite Love, longing for union to know … to feel … to bask in … and savor the sweet smile of the Love who is beyond all others.

And wonder of wonders, it happens. Moments arrive when we know our souls being bathed in the Love who is and was and ever will be.

It is then and only then that the wanting ends, but only for the time of knowing, only for the moment when the heart is totally full of Love, leaving no room for desire. There is only the knowing.

Who knew this could be? Who knew the soul’s endless craving could ever find satisfaction in Infinite Love? And who can predict the exquisite moments when graced awareness overwhelms us with the Love who is always there for us, the Love who never ceases wanting us.

Give me this water, asked a woman by a well as she listened to the stranger who stopped by to quench his thirst. She speaks for all of us: Give us the water that quenches the unrelenting thirst to know Infinite Love.

Give it today. Give it now. And give it always. For our thirst, however satisfied in this moment, always returns and will return, Holy One, because the ache within us is the echo in our soul of your desire for us.

You desire that we should drink of the Love you are … and find rest for our souls until we rest fully and forever in you. Full hearts, at last.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday, September, 24, 2018

Matthew 5:43-45, 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…. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Imitating the inimitable

Embrace today. Open your heart, welcome the day and everything it brings.

The Holy One embraces every moment, every person, every event, even those events where evil seems triumphant, wreaking havoc on the goodness of life and creation. Nothing is left out. God is wholehearted, the Love who surrounds every moment of life, every life that is and every molecule of creation.

I sit in quiet on my morning bench by Feather Sound, coffee in hand, eyes on the reeds and cattails at water’s edge. And I breathe, awakening a Love that lives within, a Love for everything that is and which evaporates every anxiety and stills every desire.

In the moment, awareness arises that this Love surrounds and encompasses the whole of … everything, all that is. Everything is inside God. I see and know it with eyes of the heart, a gift of graced awareness.  

And for a moment, I, too, am wholehearted, perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, loving the world … and myself … despite the multitude of imperfections in both, imitating the inimitable.

Many things happen to us and in our fractured world that are not appointed by God nor do they come from God. Evil exists, and all of us resist the Love that is the energy of God that holds the world together.

But even evil moments happen inside God, inside the Encompassing Presence who holds all things and who seeks to be known in all things.

So embrace today, wholeheartedly, whatever comes. This is another day lived inside a Love more immense than you can imagine.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Matthew 5:14-16

‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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.

Let it shine

There is a light in each of us that never goes out.

But the light, so often, gets buried beneath details of the daily. We lose track of it, confused and distracted by our long-held ideas and images about who we are … or should be … or what others expect of us.

Our frustrations and angers also close our conscious minds from awareness of the Eternal Flame of Love that burns silently within.

We forget and lose awareness of our central truth: We are that light, each of us an enduring flame, steady and sure, however hidden the light may become in the whirlwind of living. It is always there.

This enduring flame is God’s presence, divine light within us, our true self.

Moments comes, with laughter and tears, when we become aware of this all-embracing, ever-enduring Love living in and passing through us.

Nature brings such awareness, the sun through autumn trees, light on the water. Meditation does, too, sinking into the silence of your heart and feeling Love rising from within and realizing this mysterious Love is both within and surrounding you … and everything, holding all that is.

God is never separate from us, not ever.

The Loving Mystery is right here, the Eternal Flame of Love that warms us through when our minds sink into our hearts to discover the Love we truly want and need is always there, within.

The flame burns, growing brighter, stronger, more pure and clear with each expression of joy and love … given and received.  

So be who you are today. Let the light, the Love within, shine from your eyes and heart … and illumine the world.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday, September, 19, 2018

Galatians 5:22-24

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The place of knowing

Peace and goodness, joy and love come from within, from the living Spirit who is our inmost nature. There is nothing outside ourselves that can quell the anger or restlessness that agitates and sets us on edge.

We must descend into the depth of our souls, delving beneath the surface noise of stress and ego to find within a quiet center, a place of knowing such Love as no external source, success, respect or victory can give.

For there lives the Spirit within. This is our birthright, a gift given in our very creation. Our minds descending into the depth of our soul, we arrive at a place where Love lives, where Spirit breathes, where burns the flame of deepest hope for union with the Loving Source of all Life  

The stresses and promises of life distract, busy our minds with all that doesn’t satisfy, keeping us on the surface of things. Little time is left to grow quiet and attend to the Spirit who dwells at the depth of our spirits. What is leftover we often fill with electronic noise from one device or another.

When all the while the Holy One waits within for us to come home, and know what our hearts most need to know, the Love God is … this Love who is our deepest nature.

Descending into our hearts and finding Love there we come home. Resting there for but a moment, all the goodness of the Spirit of Life flows through our souls with joy—patience, kindness, gentleness, peace.

And we know … with immense gratitude: This is who I am and everything I want to be.

Thank you. Just thank you. That prayer is enough.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, September 14, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Matthew 4:17-20

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Hoping for heaven

Why did they follow Jesus? Why does anyone follow?

If they knew what was coming, they might have taken a pass on the whole discipleship thing. No one willingly chooses hardship or suffering. No one wants to be around when their teacher and friend is brutally executed. No one wants to live under the same threat. Unless....

Unless your heart aches for something more exquisite and beautiful, hope-filled and joyful than everything you’d ever known or imagined could happen to you. Then ... maybe, you would come along, pulled by the engine of hope.

Hope wakes the heart from slumber, stirring that niggling awareness that there is something better, more alive and life-giving than the life you know, something for which you’d lose everything.

Hope is the desire to know the life of heaven ... here and now.

This is exactly what Jesus promises. The kingdom of heaven is near. It is here, he says. As you follow me, you will know the presence of heaven even amid life’s hardships.

Heaven happens every time Immense Love appears in earthy existence and experience.

An act of mercy, a moment of beauty, the healing power of love, the joy of reconciliation, a simple act of understanding and care, the grace of friendship, a loving celebration of another year of life, the struggle for justice or just another day truly lived well—the rule of God, the life of heaven shines through all of this.

We follow Jesus that we may see and know glimmers of heaven shining through the messiness of our lives and world. We follow that the rays of divine light may shine through us and fulfill hope’s fondest desire.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Matthew 4:8-10

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” 

God at the center

The temptations of Jesus are not unusual but common. The most basic is this: to put something other than God at the center of your life.

This isn’t one big decision. It happens through a million seemingly insignificant decisions that allow something to occupy the space in your heart that rightly belongs to God, the Source of your life and breath.

It happens slowly as we allow other concerns to replace knowing and loving God at the center of our life. Work or success or our bank account or personal acclaim or looking good or the newest digital gadgets or social acceptance or momentary pleasures or sports or a friendship group or … something eases God to the perimeter of consciousness.

And worship … knowing and loving and serving God … becomes something you do instead of the being the center of the wheel around which everything else turns, the great truth that guides and gives direction everything you do.

Daniel Berrigan, a wiser and (slightly) more profane soul than mine, suggested it is easy to see what you worship. It isn’t where your mind is or where your heart is. It is where your ass is.

Where do you habitually go, what commitments define you and which ones are set aside to service others? That tells you what you worship—the thing on which you place highest worth.

Jesus leads our way. He dismisses this most basic temptation, telling us we are to worship God and serve only him. It sounds like a command, a law we must obey. But that is a surface understanding.

It is actually an invitation to know and turn to the Loving Mystery in everything you do and in every place you go. It is an invitation to enjoy the privilege of being with Jesus, loving him and all he loves.

It is an invitation to be what Love is, go where Love goes and do what Love does, a life with Love at the center.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Matthew 3:16-17

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

With the beloved

I love to be with people who eagerly open their hands to receive the Eucharist. I relish being near those who love to hear and sing songs of grace and love and hope because something in their hearts require it.

I am lifted by those who share the beauty and joy they find in small things, who bubble with enthusiasm and gratitude for what each day brings. My heart warms when I see the sparkle in the eyes of a those who are truly and fully alive.

This why the church has always meant so much to me.

I could always find people of joy there, of sorrow, too, but there was this love and hope even amid the hard times. At church, I was more likely to run into people who felt truly alive, more alive than I felt; who loved more freely and easily than I loved; who touched and welcomed my touch, hand-to-hand or in a hug that told me my life is embraced regardless of how I felt at the moment.

Where else but in the congregation of the Beloved does this happen?

It is hard to say exactly what charisma flowed through Jesus and excited hearts to draw near him. But perhaps it starts here: He heard the voice of God naming him, “Beloved,” and he never doubted or forgot what he heard, not ever.

The belovedness that filled Jesus flows through anyone who gets close enough to feel what is in him. Get close, listen and your soul lights up as if you just discovered the secret which your soul has always longed to know.

There is no shortage of people, gob smacked by celebrity, who want to be near or just like the famous, powerful or wealthy. Not me. I want to stand among the beloved of the Beloved. I want to know what they know. Today and always.

Pr. David L. Miller