Saturday, November 30, 2019

Who knows?

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42)

How many times have you come to me, Lord, and I missed you entirely, lost in living, unconscious amid the urgency of whatever the day requires?

I wonder, do you get lonely for me? Do you miss me when my heart wanders, and I fail to speak heart-to-heart with you?

Sometimes I picture you standing alone, waiting for me to notice, wondering when my loneliness will hurt badly enough that I beg you to come and pour your love into my heart and still the ache that tells me how desperately I need you.

But you do not wait. You come. You have been coming to me since the days I walked my dog to the fairgrounds and released her from the chain, and she ran, a blond blur of hair flying in the wind. It was there that I sang hymns and prayed prayers and longed to be as free as this beautiful creature romping across the broad field, daring me to catch her.

I’m not sure who was happier, me or my dog. Nor do I understand why this image from nearly six decades ago should impress itself on my consciousness, today.

Unless, you are trying to show me that you have been coming to me for my entire life, since I was a boy, hoping I would notice the Love who longs for me… and is this longing in me to know you, the Love who comes, who is my healing, my freedom, my joy.

Who knows how and where you come to us … or when we might notice? It’s always a mystery. We know only that you do … and always will.

So, thank you, dearest Friend, for coming to find and gather me in during those early days before I understood what was happening in me. Thanks for the ache in my heart that wakes me to you who comes to love … me.

And while I’m at it, thank you for coming here and now, today.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, November 25, 2019

Fields of gold

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Thanksgiving meant more to me on the plains of Nebraska than at any other time, or so it seems as I look back. It was only for five years, but the annual cycle lived there still lives in me.

We lived and died in concert with nature. Autumn was the time of sowing wheat, hoping it would soon spring up before falling asleep under ice and snow, as bitter winds bit your cheeks and made you wonder how anything could live through winter’s blast.

As nature slept, we waited in hope for the day green shoots, still sheathed in ice, would appear alive and luminous to excite our hearts with the wonder that life didn’t die in the dead of winter.

You knew it was coming. It happened every year, but you never took it for granted. It never got old. It was an extraordinary joy. Hearts brimmed with hope at the greening of the earth, making us fresh and new as the wonder of life’s unspeakable goodness.

Anxious days were not done. Would rains come? Would insects devour? Would hail destroy the crop on the eve of harvest? Too often, it happened. And then, would the price per bushel drop? So little control over any of these things.

I suppose this is why there are few sights in nature more beautiful than waves of golden wheat flowing in the wind across broad fields as harvest draws near. Anxiety over the seed, winter, drought, insects, hailstorms and disease fades, and hearts get antsy, eager to gather it all in and run fingers through harvested grain, seeds flowing between your fingers, feeling the gift of it all and the glory of participating in the miracle of every single grain.

No one had to tell you to be thankful; you just were … for the privilege of sharing in the wonder of life and the holy goodness of seedtime and harvest.

As years pass, I have come to see that I am like the wheat, all of us are. We are seeds planted in the soil of an uncertain world where threats are as real as hope, God’s hope, that with time and care, our lives will produce a harvest as beautiful as the fields that call out to me, today.

Thank you, blessed Lord, for all they gave me.

Pr. David L. Miller