Monday, June 11, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Luke 15:17, 31-32

But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!
Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”’

One thing doesn’t change

A man has two sons. One takes his inheritance while the father is still living, thinking he can separate from the family and make a better life elsewhere.

The older son stays home, works like a dog on his father’s estate, doing everything he thinks his father wants from him … and resents it.

How many sons does the father have? Answer: none. One discards his identity and treats his father as if he doesn’t matter. The other never accepts and claims his identity as a son. Neither of them realize who they are … or how privileged.

But the younger son comes to himself and realizes he has a home and a father to which to return. He doesn’t claim his identity right away. He returns home hoping for a job, believing he burnt his bridges so there’s no going back to where he started. He refuses to believe his father will accept him as a son until his father sees him coming and throws a party.

The elder never left but also never accepted that all the father has, the love, the wealth, the blessings … are all his. All he ever needed to do was accept and enjoy what is right in front of him. Instead he resents his father and refuses to celebrate his brother’s return.

How many sons does the father have now? Answer: one, unless the older son comes to his senses and joins the party.

The story is all about identity, ours and God’s. God is full of grace and love, giving us a privileged identity as blessed children, sharing the wealth of divine life and love with us. It is God’s good pleasure to do so.

All that is in Christ is ours—forgiveness and blessing, power and wisdom, and intimacy with the great love that is in him. This, too, is ours.

Accept it, trust it, receive and revel in being God’s beloved, a soul in whom God delights. This is who you are. Never forget it. Remind yourself of this central truth of your life every morning. Nothing that happens today … or ever … can change this.
It’s who you are … and who God is.                  

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Luke 12:1-3

Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered in thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.

True to you

In ancient Greece, actors on the stage were hupocrites, in modern English, hypocrites. They wore the face of another who was not them. Their surface appearance didn’t reveal the truth, the heart of the person.

This was the problem of the Pharisees, Jesus said. They played a role. Everything looked good and righteous, pious and faithful. But on the inside their hearts were far from the justice and compassion that are true faithfulness to God.

They were pretenders for the sake of how others see them, driven by the ego’s need to look good in the eyes of others.

All humanity shares this affliction, of course. Too much of what is inside us is not fit for public viewing—our sin, angry words, nasty thoughts, judgmental opinions. We, too, shape our public image so that is better than what we know of ourselves.

God knows all this, of course, and loves us anyway—fully, totally, extraordinarily and forever. We are sinful, but beloved sinners who should not think ourselves shameful or worthless because we fall short of the goodness God seeks in us.

Acknowledging and confessing our sin is not an exercise in groveling. It is the cure for hypocrisy. It leads us into greater awareness of the Love who wants and transforms us into people who are not actors but true expressions of the Love God is for us … and for all.

Holy One, this day may we live not for the sake of how others see us, but only for the sake of your love.

Pr. David L. Miller