A series of biblical reflections and prayers from David L. Miller, pastor of faith formation at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Naperville, IL. David is the former editor of The Lutheran magazine and Director of Spiritual Formation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you. They
shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your* mighty deeds. (Psalm 145:1-12)
servants, the bees
I sit in the breezeway and watch the bees work their
way through lavender blossoms of catmint, sage some call it. They ignore me,
and even though they are but 10 feet away, I do not fear them though they
number in the dozens.
They are too busy to concern themselves with one human
observer of their tireless work. They gather sweet nectar and pollinate creation’s
goodness so that I can sit here each morning and be carried away by the myriad
diversity of exquisite colors and an extraordinary universe that bursts with
life everywhere I look.
Their labor calls to mind a few words from the Easter
Vigil liturgy that always makes me smile … even laugh. Sometimes weep.
The writers of that ancient prayer thank the Holy One for
the burning candle, a pillar of flame signifying the breaking of death’s power,
fed by the melting wax which “your servants, the bees” have provided.
I give thanks for the bees on their morning mission.
They carry me into awareness that we live in a universe where everything belongs,
everything has a place, and everything has a role to play in a great and holy
work, called life.
All that I survey in my morning ruminations makes the
life I live and love possible … and beautiful … and filled with hope. The bees and
the innumerable processes of nature that surround go about their business,
serving the divine Creator’s great work, paying me no mind, yet blessing me every
So I thank you, O Lord, for everything that blesses
and gives us life. Thank you for every hand that has touched and cared for me
in these days when medical challenges reveal how profoundly I am dependent on the
expertise, the skill and the common human goodness of others.
Thank you especially for your servants, the bees, who
tell that we each have a part to play to make life real and good, beautiful and
bountiful. May I be as faithful as they, loving all you are, all you have made…
and doing my small part.
Let my heart be light today, whatever comes, whatever
happens. Let the light of the Love you have privileged me to know and feel
shine in every room, on every face, in every moment today.
Let me not lose myself, fearfully forgetting who I am
and everything you have given me in a lifetime more surprising than any I could
have conceived for myself.
Let me live in the warmth of the smile that fills your
face and sparkles in your eyes, as you tell me who I am, “You are the light of
The joy in your eyes beckons me to wake up and realize
I am not empty or wanting. I hold a treasure, the Love that you are, the Love
that shines in your face for me, for every human soul and all of creation.
This Love lives in me. This is who I am. And it is
enough. It is always enough and always will be.
So I will look at the sun and the sky. My eyes will
embrace the greening of the earth, flowers purple and red, lavender and pink,
the trees finally full. I will savor the cardinal’s call and follow the flight
of the heron that splits my vision as I gaze heavenward.
And somehow I will see your smile in all of it, and I
will know everything I need to know … to smile.
[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and
Born for joy
Joy finds you when you are not looking for it, when your heart is wholly fixed on the
moment, when you give something from your depths and the voice of the Spirit
whispers in your heart, “It is for this joy that you were born.”
Sunday’s baptism was
more boisterous than usual. Three small children bounced against the font
making waves across the face of the waters. I handed them the two baptismal
candles to hold until the moment we lit the light of Christ for Amelia and Madeline,
Wide-eyed and impressed
by their great responsibility, the children stood quietly until they discovered
baptismal candles make fine swords. The ensuing fencing match proceeded half-way
down the center aisle until they were summoned back to the water’s edge as each
twin girl was lowered into the waters of eternal blessing.
Completing the rite,
Will, the twins’ four-year brother and victorious fencer, held back, not wanting
to leave the font despite his father’s entreaty. He looked up at me, and I spontaneously
reached for the shell of anointing oil and marked him as I had just marked his
sisters, “Beloved Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and
marked with the cross of Christ forever.”
“He blessed you,” his
father whispered and led him by the hand back to the front pew.
The service continued with
prayer and sharing the peace, when another child, Lilly, grabbed me from the
back around the legs, giggled and refused to let go.
It wasn’t many
years ago that we blessed her in the waters of life and lit a candle. Now we see
the light of God’s love in her smile and little girl laugh.
“You were born for
this,” the inner Voice of Love whispered as I returned to my place and sat down, thankful for everything that had led
me to this single moment when I heard the voice amid tears and purest
But it is not just me,
of course. The Spirit’s inner speaking is the deep truth of every human life. Each
of us is born to share the joy of knowing God’s love flowing through us. We are
born to know and share this joy.
Just be where you are.
Give yourself to bless the present moment, whatever it is and wherever you are.