Wednesday, December 30, 2020


December 30, 2020

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-29)

Is there anything you need to do, someone you need to see or hear one more time? I asked the question again recently. The woman seated on the couch across from me was dying. Together, we attended to final things.

Now, the question rebounds to haunt me.

The end of this troubling year and the advent of 2021 awakens pressing questions for which there are no easy answers: What does my heart need to be at peace? What tasks must be done, what loves must be expressed for my heart to feel that elusive sense of completion?

But I know ... nothing is ever enough. The human heart is bottomless. There are no finished symphonies in this life. There is always more love we ache to know and share, always another scene to see, another joy to savor, another hug to hold more tightly than before.

And no matter how much life and love we are graced to know, our hearts still hide volumes that ache to come out and play in the light of day. Completion remains beyond our reach.

Except. There is One ... and one experience that gives rest to the heart. There is One who says, “I complete you. I am the completion you seek in your lonely search in the dark night.”

So I come again to this old chair and ... one more time ... descend into this inscrutable heart that is my own ... and breathe. And there he is, this Mystery, this One, this Love who whispers, "I complete you. Quit trying so hard. Just be here with me and know the Love for which you are made."

And finally, again, I know: Completion is not elusive, but here, now, within, where lives this Love for which the lonely heart longs.

Come to me and rest.

Pr. David L. Miller







Friday, December 25, 2020

For Christmas comes


December 25, 2020

The Nativity of our Lord

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome (comprehend) it. (John 1:5)

Wait. Don’t turn away because the opening is dark. This is why Christmas is so bright ... because of the darkness. So linger a moment.

For darkness attends, even on Christmas morning: a bomb in a Nashville street, a woman and child run down by a driver too fast and too afraid to stop, the shrieks of those who love them rising from my morning paper; closer still, the sadness of joys denied and heartaches unhealed.

Darkness attends, but wait ... and watch.

Watch the dark places. Refuse to turn away, for light appears. It always does ... and will, including within you. That’s the way Light is, this One who raptures our hearts this day.

In these older years, I have come to prefer a translation of an ambiguous word that suggests the Light has always been shining, always, through creation and all history, but for the most part we fail to see and comprehend it.

The Light he is, the Light that is never overcome, always there, which means always here. And looking now into the face of the child who comes and loves beyond all human expectation ... now, perhaps, we might see a bit more clearly what always has been and always will be.

So we wait ... and look ... into the brightness  and the dark corners of life, knowing, always knowing Light will come to the cold, dark places in our hearts, so tempted to imagine sadness is the end of things, darkness the victor.

For light appears, and when it does savor it in your heart. Hold it in an open hand like a butterfly that has chosen to perch on your palm for a precious moment ... for reasons you will never understand. (For who can understand this Love?)

Just, do not grasp the moment. Don’t try to hold it fast. You need to keep your hand open, your heart quiet, ready to receive the next moment ... and the next ... and the next ... when light appears.

For Christmas comes ... the Light within all that is light ... to you.

Pr. David L. Miller







Friday, December 18, 2020

O is for oh

 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down. (Isaiah 64:1)

At the back of most Christian hymnals, you can find an index that alphabetically lists the first lines of every song in the book. Find the letter “O,” and you will discover a long list of hymns for which ‘Oh,’ or more simply ‘O,’ is the first word.

I counted 64 songs in our primary Lutheran hymnal that start with ‘oh,’ the most common first word among all the hymns in the book.

But ‘oh’ is barely a word at all. It’s what comes out our mouths when we don’t know what to say, when the emotion of the moment simply forces its way from our throat.

Those 64 hymns, for example, are awash in a boat load of irrepressible emotions: ‘Oh’ is a sigh of longing and a cry for help. It expresses awe and wonder for which no words are possible. It proclaims joy and praise at the utter goodness of being alive and knowing love. It is thanks to the Great Heart who makes it all possible.

Oh is a plea for mercy and the joy of relief. It is startled disbelief at finally finding and knowing the truth your heart most needs. And it is the soul’s highest praise upon feeling the Spirit of that Great Heart within your own.

Oh says very little while saying all that is possible to say. And maybe it is our best prayer right now.

O come, o come Emmanuel. We long for moments when only one word will do.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

N is for name

Thursday, December 17

They shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’ (Matthew 1:23)

Names matter as any taunted fourth grader call tell you. Having your name mispronounced or twisted into a demeaning insult stings, sometimes even decades later.

But hearing your name used with care and respect, even love, can lift your heart into the heavens or at least above the grayness of a December day.

Ancient people had much more respect for names than we do. Names weren’t just a label or a way to get someone’s attention but an expression of the essence of the one named. So they chose carefully, refusing to settle on the moniker of a favorite uncle just to be nice.

A chosen name had to be exactly right, capturing their nature, establishing their destiny.

Little wonder, then, that biblical writers tripped over themselves trying to find the right name for the child at whose manger we bow each Christmas. No name says half enough, and everything they suggested leaves you wanting something more to express but a fraction of who Jesus is to millions of souls through the centuries.

In Matthew’s story of the holy birth, an angel comes to his father, Joseph, and declares the boy’s name will be Jesus, which roughly translated is God helps or God saves. That’s good news because we know there are vast parts of us badly in need of saving.

But I like the name given a couple of verses later where Matthew quotes a prophecy, “They shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”

Jesus must have liked this idea, too, because it echoes through his words from time to time. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst,” he once said.

Then, there are his final words, as Matthew tells it: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Somehow he knew; more than anything else, we need to feel him near.

All in all, Emmanuel is as good a name as we’ve got.

Pr. David L. Miller

M is for music

Wednesday, December 16

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ (Luke 2:13-14)

One again, we confront a letter with too many Advent possibilities. ‘M’ should be for Mary, the mother of our Lord, who gave Jesus birth and wrapped him in loving care. Can there be any more important ‘M’ as we approach Christmas than Mary? She held the light of the world in her arms and felt his beating heart.  

But there is another Advent ‘M,’ mystery. The divine wonder, the Loving Mystery who is the Source of all life becomes flesh, wears a human face, an infant face, that we might know the Unknowable Love ... God is. The eternal God in mortal flesh, is there a bigger mystery?

But still I must choose a different ‘M,’ music, and here’s why.

The mystery that Immortal Love appears in mortal flesh, born of Mary, cannot be conveyed in preachers’ words or even the most sophisticated intellectual construct. Only music can do this. Words cannot bear the weight of wonder.

But music, say ... a hushed strain of Silent Night, transports the heart into the heart of love God is, rendering words a meaningless distraction.

Early today, Franz Biebel’s Ave Maria whispered through the stereo as the wan, violet light of a winter morning shadowed the living room. Blessed are you if you know the piece. Listening, rapt in its exquisite beauty, refusing to wipe away the tears, my heart knew, beyond any and every word ever spoken, the mystery of this Love who is beyond all knowing.

It’s no wonder the angels sang on that Christmas hillside long ago. Words just wouldn’t do.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, December 14, 2020

L is for light

Tuesday, December 15

Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them (Luke 2:9)

The Bible’s stories of Christmas are resplendent in light.

Angels appear flooding the night sky with light, the glory of the Lord startles shepherds on a hillside, a star in the heavens guides wise men to the place where lies a child who is the “light of the world.”

Just so, in the middle of the night on the winter solstice, the “dawn from on high breaks upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

Our music savors this contrast of light and darkness: In the dark streets shineth the everlasting light. Or this, Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright.

Darkness is a symbol for everything that is wrong with the world and us—sin and selfishness, greed and apathy, hunger and injustice, misery of all types amid a world so at odds with itself peace seems impractical and impossible.

But light is the active presence and power of God, the shining forth of God ... everywhere. It is everything that enlightens our pathway to God.

We experience the light of the world in lots of places—in justice and mercy, grace and beauty, every act of care and compassion, in all that is good, right, virtuous and life-giving. Trouble is, most often we don’t know what, make that who, we are seeing.

Which is why the Loving Mystery, who created light before creating anything else, put a human face on the light of the world.

This child in the manger, this Jesus, is the face of the Eternal Light, the heart of the Immeasurable Love, shining forth to light and warm your heart in the bleak midwinter of living.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, December 13, 2020

K is for kenosis

Monday, December 14, 2020

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7)

You have likely never heard this world before, but it is written on your soul. It’s pronounced key-no-sis (sis as in sister). It means to empty yourself, to give yourself away for something or someone else, which whether you know it or not is your heart’s desire.

Consider an anecdote told me by a father remembering the day, years ago, he gave an important gift to his daughter. For two weeks afterward, he walked around two feet off the ground, aglow with joy.

What he gave, of course, was himself, a piece of his heart, at personal sacrifice.

Sacrificing out of love, out of the heart’s desire to give itself away, is what kenosis looks like in real life, and it most often results in profound joy for the giver. Such kenotic acts of self-giving are also the kind of thing we most cherish and admire in other human beings.

All this opens a window into the heart of Christ, revealing that we are cherished for more than we imagine.

For Christ emptied himself (kenosis) of divine privilege, stepping out of the heavenly places to be born into a life of poverty in an obscure place and time. His kenosis doesn’t stop there. He gave himself over to rejection and the ugliest death the ancient world had devised.

All this, he does, out of his heart’s desire to show the love he has for you, a love that transcends anything else we shall ever know.

But know this: When you feel that desire to give a piece of yourself away to someone ... that is exactly when you and the baby in the manger are most alike.

Pr. David L. Miller




Thursday, December 03, 2020

E is for … everything

Friday, Dec. 4


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Oh my, how can I choose? There are so many ‘E’ words connected with Advent and Christmas.

There is expectation and excitement, eagerness and ecstasy, elation and exaltation.

Any one of them can serve as the starting place to explore the extraordinary compassion of God, who embodies the beauty of the divine heart in human form, embracing our messy, mortal lives that we may be filled with eternal love and life.

But if I must select just one word, I choose everything.

Nothing is left out, not me, not you, not the wonder of creation, the farthest star or most infinitesimal particles of nature. Everything, everywhere is embraced by the love of God who takes on human flesh—material reality, earthly stuff—in this child whose face we seek so earnestly as Christmas draws near.

With an everlasting love, God treasures us and takes on our flesh. This also means our flesh is taken into God, joined, combined, made one with the life, the love, the beauty and compassion of God that we might never doubt what God desires for us.

God so loves the world, the whole, crazy, infuriating mess. The great Loving Mystery, whom we shall never understand, embraces it all, holds everything close to the divine heart that all the life and love God is … may flow into us and all that is.

So imagine the child in the manger. Gaze on him whom we call Emmanuel, God with us, and know how graced you are and how beautiful is our God.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Pr. David L. Miller




Wednesday, December 02, 2020

D is for desire

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (Luke 1:78-79)

What do you want? The question caught me off guard. It came out of the blue, but I quickly realized my interrogator was asking what I wanted for Christmas.

I stumbled about, having not given it a moment’s thought during this Corona-saturated season.

Then morning came, a new day, light flooding the living room as the radio played the great Amen at the end of Handel’s Messiah, sopranos soaring, filling the room and my heart with the joy of completion.

And there was the answer. This is what I desire, to know this extraordinary love sweeping away every darkness, filling my heart with the joyous light of eternal morning.

This desire is the engine of our spiritual life.

Beneath the wants and wishes of daily life, beyond our hungers for food and safety, companionship and success, a new phone or better home, we want more. Deeper yearnings stir, drawing us toward something hard to name; the desire for I know not what some call it.

Ultimately, this is the desire for God. We yearn to be one, engulfed in the Heart in whom there is no darkness, filled with a Love beyond anything we have ever known—like on a December morning when the sunlight floods the room and tells you what you’ve always wanted … and so desperately need.

So befriend your desires as December deepens; pray them. Sooner or later, they lead you to a manger where lies the desire of your heart.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

C is for comfort

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her

that she has served her term … (Isaiah 40:1-2a)

Today, the word is comfort.

A sharp wind cuts through my coat as I shuffle one foot to the other on the oil-stained concrete, impatient for the tank to fill so I can return to the comfort of the car.

Winter stretches long before us, and small comforts beckon—a warm drink, lamplight on a familiar chair, a few precious moments of peace.

Each small grace points beyond itself to deeper things. For comfort is more than relief from the cold.

Comfort is the enveloping warmth of safety where you know that you belong, where strength is renewed, laughter is free and hope is the air you breathe. It is knowing you can just be … nothing else is required.

This is God’s intention, God’s desire. Listen: ‘Comfort, comfort my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.”

It is impossible for me to read these words without hearing the clarion call of the tenor at the start of Handel’s Messiah, announcing God’s intention to be the comfort for which our hearts hunger.

So we pray, Come, Lord Jesus, be our comfort in the cold.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, November 30, 2020

B is for born

 Tuesday, Dec. 1

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’ (Luke 1:41-42)

Today, the word is born.

A hawk sails through the gray dawn as the weight of November rests heavily on my heart. Perhaps you feel it, too. The want of light stirs rumination as the days grow shorter this time of year.

A story in the paper of a decades old tragedy deepens these reflections. It tells of several nuns who, on Dec. 1, 1958, risked their lives in a roaring conflagration to save dozens of children at Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago.  They put their bodies between encroaching flames and their children.

The love that so obviously moved them stirs the heart and awakens an insistent question. What longs to be born in me? What blessing, what love, lives in my hidden heart yearning to be given away before my time on this earth is done?

The Christ before whom we bow at Christmas lies within us, pressing on the womb of our souls that we may give birth to a love more beautiful than any we have known.

So, blessed are you, for you, as Mary, carry the Christ. Listen to the still, small voice within you in these darkening days, for it is Christ, there, longing to be born amid joy and wonder.

And pray, ‘Come Lord Jesus, be born in me.’

Pr. David L. Miller


Voice of the masters:What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? … What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time. When the Son of God is begotten in us.”” (Meister Eckhart, 1260-1328)



Sunday, November 29, 2020

A is for Anticipation

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:33)

I will be sharing reflections and my experience of the four-week Advent season as it bears us toward Christmas, one day at a time. Each entry will offer a word to carry with you, until evening comes and you lay the day to rest in God’s loving hands.

Today, the word is anticipation.

There are times it is hard to anticipate much of anything positive. Life hits hard and ‘knocks the wind out of our sails.’ We know that old saying and have felt it. You might be feeling it as this disappointing year winds to a weary close.

So many hopes we held for 2020 were dashed, even as some found fulfillment. Even more personally, as for me today, fears for loved ones we cannot help suck life from our lungs, and our hearts faint within.

But it is then, exactly then, Jesus speaks. So listen: "Do not be downcast. Lift your heart, for I will not leave you desolate. I will come and fill the hole in your heart.”

Just so, we live with anticipation, looking to the next moment and then the next and the next, for he is always coming to us. We see him in a manger; we feel him in every breath of beauty and word of grace. We know him in every silent moment when the healing balm of great love flows through our hearts, making us new.

So it is with great anticipation that we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Pr. David L. Miller




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thank you

Thanksgiving 2020

At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants (Matthew 11:25)

Breathe, just breathe. Slow down, no. Stop … and sink in.

Sip your coffee or tea or whatever coaxes you from the surface of yourself to that deeper place where gratitude lives, where it is natural as breathing.

Sink into this place of abiding. And be. There.

This is the place of being where you find a wordless joy attached to nothing … but being itself, to the wonder that you are alive, that you are here, that you exist and experience your life as an inscrutable gift from a Source unknown, knowing (as only the heart can) that Source as love writ large, Love, who gives the Life … to you … then leans back and smiles.

And this smile, so felt that even the mind sees, awakens the grace of tears for whatever moves you this day—be it family and friends, work that matters, sunrises and sets, the warmth of the kitchen, the burning candle on the sill, the sparkle of wine, the purr of a kitten or dozing dog at your feet.

Each tear is a pearl of gratitude for the overwhelming goodness of being, for once knowing that everything you see and feel is a gift from that unseen Giver whose smile, in this moment, is the truest thing you shall ever know, for which there are no words … except for a deep, silent thank you.

Sweet these words, yet woefully inadequate to speak what the Great Heart is so pleased to speak in your own.

So accept, O Lord, my wonder as my praise to you this day. It is the only thing I truly have to give.

Pr. David L. Miller

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Love's creature


They went after false idols and became false. (2 Kings 17:15b)

Morning comes and with it a question. Who am I? What is my ultimate concern, the deepest, highest commitment of my life?

We answer that question with our lives, one day at a time. Each new day is an opportunity to become who we are—or to betray our very selves and the God whose Spirit lives in the deep, inner room of our hearts.

Passions for success, personal acceptance and conformity to whatever is trending in society, all these are subtle seductions—noise drowning out the inner voice of God’s love and justice calling us to faithful living.

If you just go with the flow, you soon become false, losing your soul to trivial pursuits and fleeting fashions that are unworthy of you. But the Spirit of God within your Spirit never ceases to call you home to yourself, for you are so much more.

You are Love’s creature, an image of the God who is Love, intended for heart-to-heart intimacy with the Love who fashioned the stars … and you.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, November 20, 2020

For sure

... they are beloved ... for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:28b-29)

“What do ya’ know for sure?” I still hear the uplift in my father’s voice as he greeted farmers entering Apple River Feed and Seed, our family business.

The most common reply was, “Not much, Lavern; how about you?” With that and a chuckle, business commenced. And why not? Everyone who heard Dad’s voice knew that dusty office was a safe, welcoming space. Not so with much of life.

Threats are real, the future impenetrable, and we cannot fathom the mysteries of what God is working in our world … or in us … at any given moment.

But this you can know ... for sure. God is faithful. Always. God’s loving promises are irrevocable, unbreakable and absolutely certain. Count on it.

With an everlasting love, God claims and calls you beloved. Grace and forgiveness are yours. You are held in a mercy that refuses to turn away. Nothing you do, no trouble that comes will invalidate God’s promise to love, forgive and seek you.

This is the one true thing.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The One who hears

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. (Psalm 54:2)

The Holy One hears even when words fail us as so often they do. We sit to speak to God, hoping to express the depth of what is in us. But strands of hope and longing, anxiety and confusion tangle into an inseparable knot impossible to unwind.

We fall silent, restless and without hope of naming what we need, lacking words that speak the ache of our longing.

But do not fear or fall into despair. You are loved beyond all human measure by the One whose compassionate nearness is greater than your heart, more abundant than your need and who smiles at your confusion.

Offer the quagmire of your heart with a single word, “Help.’ Then rest and breathe in the Love who is always with you and always for you.

God’s unfailing love, this alone, unties the kinks in our hearts, breathing peace in our souls. It is then that we find the words we most want and need to speak, “Thank you, dearest God, for hearing my heart and sharing your own."  

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

This moment


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4-5)

I despair of saying anything useful, something that will lighten your burden or make our current situation easier to bear. Everything is strange, emotions are frayed and we should not expect life will get easier, more free or fun any time soon.

The president says the pandemic is going around a bend. But if so, it’s because we are going around in a circle that will not be broken until there is a vaccine Americans trust.

So … must we just grit our teeth and bear it? No. There is more. There is always more.

We have this moment, and this moment, however conflicted, burdened or bleak, is more alive and beautiful that we know … or claim.

Yesterday, a disabled woman hobbled across the narthex as we completed a long afternoon of recording an online worship service. Out of breath, she was looking for a place to vote. Hearing there is no early voting at St. Timothy, she sat with a sigh, exhausted, and we talked.

She had no deep story, no tale of woe, just weary frustration that she’d been directed to the wrong place on this dreary, gray day devoid of sunlight.

We sat there, listening, me to her and her to me. Nothing important happened. Nothing memorable was said, just a few words of encouragement and direction to an early voting site. Then, refreshed, she stood and limped toward the door, offering words of thanks for a moment’s respite.

That was that. Nothing important in the world was changed, except for the two of us.

Our paths crossed in a moment we could not have anticipated, a drop in the endless ocean of time, meaningless it seems. But by being there, by paying attention, late afternoon weariness became a moment of grace on a chill autumn day when a stranger became a sacrament of the gentleness and hope for which we ache as these endless days stretch toward the horizon.

Every moment holds exactly this simple, gracious possibility, the opportunity to just … be there … with your heart open … in every present moment … and then the next … and the next.

This is how we get through this time … and every time … and become more human in the process.

So don’t get downhearted. Rejoice in the present moment, for the Lord is near. Closer than you think.

Pr. David L. Miller




Friday, October 23, 2020



                                                                                                                                           Friday, October 23

‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)

Kernels of whole wheat sweeten my morning toast, slathered, too, with peanut butter which is nature’s perfect food as far as I am concerned.

Each kernel, gathered from Earth’s goodness by some blessed soul, transports the heart to another time and place, Nebraska, at wheat harvest, and a river of kernels flowing between my fingers as I ran my hand through a hopper of harvested wheat.

And this moves the mind to yesterday; rounding a bend through a wood on Naper Blvd., thousands of trees surround and I see just one. Orange and gold, reds afire, autumnal splendor lit from within by a light that seems not of this earth.

But it is, as is my prayer. ‘ Thank you for letting me be alive, right here, right now, to see this light that ignites something warm and true in my heart,’ a heart sullen and heavy but a moment ago.

But not now.  Now I know a light from beyond that is within this heart of mine, utter gift of a Love who lights the earth and this soul with a love that goes where it wants … because for reasons beyond us … it wants us, and wants us to know.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, October 12, 2020

Peace awaits you


Monday, October 11

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)

Stress is pandemic in this time of COVID-19. The bitterest election in recent U.S. history draws near. Various news outlets and websites are making millions marketing fear. Schools struggle to gather students … or not. Zoom meetings weary the heart.

Everything we do from getting groceries, doing our jobs and caring for our families seems to be harder … because it is harder than in those times we label ‘normal.’

Nothing new or insightful in any of these statements as much as we would like some insight or perspective that would make it all, well, easier.

Is there anything to heal, to comfort, to provide peace or at least balance amid the flood that, at least from time-to time, washes all peace and balance from our hearts, leaving a churning quagmire of mixed and anxious emotions impossible to sort out?

One thing helps … at least me, and it should surprise no one who is a person of faith. Abiding.

Peace is an inside job. Nothing from without can give it to you or restore your ability to live above the churning issues of the day that threaten to turn your heart into a restless sea.

Retreat into your soul and find love there. Recall moments of loving; relive them. Savor them. Feel the desire for this love to fill you … and to fill everything.

You were created in the image of Love. That is why love restores you, calms you, satisfies and completes you. The further you live from love the more anxious and troubled you will be.

The Lord who is Love is near. In fact, the Love the Lord is … lives in you. This is your deepest and truest self. Find silence under a golden tree or in a melody (or anything) that transports you to that inner room where you feel and know the love you are. And abide. Rest there.

The churning seas that threaten to throw us overboard will quiet and you will meet the One who is always there … waiting.

Pr. David L. Miller


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Food & drink

 Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. (John 6:53-57)

Eat my flesh? Drink my blood? Really? These are metaphors, of course. Flesh and blood are a way of saying the whole person, everything they are.

And we do, in fact, eat Jesus, so that everything he is may be ours—his life, his love, his strength, his suffering and especially the intimacy he shares with the “living Father.”

We were never intended to be outsiders, looking in at this mystery. Our fulfillment is to be inside, participating in the unfailing current of love that flows between the heart of God and Jesus’ own heart.

So we eat his words and savor his actions. We hold them in the inner eye of imagination and turn them over in our minds, not so much to understand things about him as to experience his presence awakening within us, illumining mind and heart.

Then, we can sink into our hearts and abide with him, resting in the love we share. Do this, and after a while, your life, too, becomes food and drink for a famished world.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, September 18, 2020

Let it flow

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.’ (John 4:13-14)

Jesus was tired when he got to the well at Sychar, but the woman he met there was in worse shape.

She lugged water from the well every day, week after week, a daily slog without end. But this barely scratches the depth of her fatigue. She was also on her fifth or sixth husband or boyfriend or whatever they were.

World-weary is a term that comes to mind for her; burnt out is another, and we’ve all felt it.

Whatever you call it, it is not living. Life, eternal life as Jesus calls it, is about connection with the Love from whom all things come, the Love who is source of your soul.

Living is the experience of divine love flowing like a fountain in your own heart, bubbling up, filling every cold and empty place and busting forth in your smile, your grace and in the beauty hidden within, waiting for you to cast aside your fears and let it shine.

That beauty, of course, is the presence of Christ, a living stream of love that never runs dry.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Always more

Which of you desires life,
   and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
   and your lips from speaking deceit.
(Psalm 34:12-13)

Scratch a typical human being and you quickly find a burning desire for life, a passion to feel the exhilaration of being fully alive. We hunger for more life and more moments when “it can’t get better than this.”

No matter our age, we want more years to have and hold our beloved. We want to watch the generations unfold and bless those who carry our blood for their journeys into years and adventures we will not see and cannot imagine. We long to be blessed by their smiles one more time … and to celebrate every success that awakens their joy.

Wanting this, how shall we live, except with gratitude for the gift of life and the privilege of loving and being loved?

So live with honest hearts, blessing as we have been blessed, thanking our amazing God, ever strong and ever true, who is the mysterious source of all that is good—our hope when threat is near and our joy when the sun shines warm on our shoulders.

And know, there is always more.

Pr. David L. Miller


Monday, September 14, 2020


 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6: 35)

Understanding your own soul—let alone someone else’s—is a lifelong project. Even Jesus searched for words to name the Mystery in his soul.

I am the light. I am the gate. I am the good shepherd, the true vine, the resurrection, the way, the truth, the life. None of them says enough, and if you think long about anyone of them your head begins to spin until your mind collapses in an uncomprehending heap.

 At their root is something Moses heard when he took off his shoes and hid his eyes from a burning bush. “I AM,” the divine voice said from the fire. “I am who I am.” Moses pushed, but got no further explanation and there was none he likely would have understood anyway.

Jesus puts a face on this Mystery whom no eye has seen so that seeing him we might know there is nothing to fear, ever. Look at him long enough and you begin to see that the great I AM loves us beyond all reason for reasons we will never understand. This love is soul food, a taste of eternity that makes the heart bold.

The other words—vine, gate, shepherd, etc.—offer a few ideas that feed our illusion that we actually understand him. But ultimately, no name will do.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, September 11, 2020

Just listen

I hear a voice I had not known: ‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden ... .' (Psalm 81:6)

Stop. For one moment, just stop and listen. Listen to nature. Listen to your breath. Listen to the voices within you. Listen to the person who just happens by. Listen to the world as it stumbles through another day.

You may hear a voice you barely recognize … or one that is so familiar, so near and dear you cannot imagine a day without it.

God speaks in all things. There is no speech, no words, but the voice of Love speaks every moment, begging you to feel and know Love’s holy gift in your every breath.

The divine voice coaxes you to delight in every beauty and to relish every love, to savor every grace that frees and fills you with joy, and to give yourself to every situation that cries for your love.

God is always present, working, speaking in the depth and dynamics of every situation to heal and bless, to guide and give life, abundantly, to every soul and all creation.

Don’t believe the lie that God is far off or silent. Just listen.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Live your joy

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Imitate God? How can one ever imitate the inimitable?

The idea overwhelms the mind and shatters the heart. We cannot imagine the majesty and mystery of God who commands the morning, rides on the wings of the wind and yet is closer than our breath.

And we know all-too-well the things we cannot forget--our betrayals and falsehoods, the words and memories that attack in the night, the aching regret over not being the person you could have been, the sin you tell no one except God alone.

Knowing all this, know one thing more: You are God’s beloved, treasured from all eternity, chosen before the birth of time, destined to be one with the One who is Love and nothing but.

So release every shame, every guilt. You are just as beloved as Jesus when he stood dripping wet in his baptismal waters and heard the voice, “You are my Beloved.”

Breathe that in every morning. Make it your mantra through the day. Then, dearly beloved, go live your joy.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, September 07, 2020

Living bread

 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’  (John 6:51)

You are what you eat, which is true of both body and soul. So do not consume the anger and negativity that flows so freely in society. It poisons the heart and kills the soul. You are made for living bread.

“So take me to your soul,” Jesus pleads. “My life, my words, the Love that takes flesh in my every act is bread for your soul. Take it in. All that I am is yours. Savor it all until your sleeping soul awakens, and you become the love that I am.

“My flesh will become yours, and yours will become mine. We will live in heart-to-heart communion, you in me and I in you, one, sharing the everlasting love of God. You will taste eternity, knowing how dear you are to God and the forever that awaits you.

“You spend so much of your life on that which you imagine will make you happy. But only the bread of my soul satisfies the hunger in your heart for that something more you cannot give yourself.

“I am that more. I am bread, and I freely give.”

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, September 04, 2020

Taste and see

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. ... O taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:1,7)

Words transport the soul to distant times and places. Combine them with melody, and they can carry you into a Love unlike any other.

Take these words, “taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” A cantor sang this chorus, his voice warm with faith, joy radiating from his face, as he stood near the casket of a man who blessed me without ever knowing me.

His life was so transparent to divine love that his face glowed with peace, even as cancer drained him of life. Looking at him, you knew all was well because of the Love who filled him.

Decades later, the sound of that song carries me to that moment so that it is no longer past, but a living sacrament of Christ’s love filling my heart in the present moment.

God‘s love and light still shine in this world. Darkness and hate, suffering and sorrow cannot obscure the beauty of faces and gentle graces that come to carry you into the heart of God and deliver you from every fear. Taste and see.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, September 03, 2020

The awakened heart

My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)


No law can compel us to love. Love is the molten flow rising warm within, filling the heart, revealing who we really are. It is the fulfillment of our nature.

For we are the love Christ is. This is our nature, our deepest truth, the brilliant spark, the dazzling diamond at the center of our souls.

 Made in the image of the One who is Love, love rises and floods the heart’s inmost chamber when awakened by a word, an image, a moment of beauty, a single breath of morning air … and most certainly by the beauty of Christ.

 Jesus blesses a child, touches a miserable soul begging for mercy or is moved to tears by a restless crowd hungry for something much more than bread. In these, the heart sees the Spirit of divine gentleness and love awakens within.

So gaze at him, savor beauty, be moved by suffering, linger over moments that awaken your heart. You will know the love you are and the Love who cherishes you, free at last to be gentle and fulfill the law of Christ.

Pr. David L. Miller


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

On and on

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters (v.1)

It’s a 10 mile hike around the loop trail at Waterfall Glen, time enough to hear your heart. Approaching the falls, you can also hear the heart of all humanity. Distant voices and laughter rise from the ravine, echoing among the oaks over the shush of flowing water.

There are always people here on summer days, wading or watching the stream as it runs from an unknown source to its destination in a far off sea. The flow is magnetic and mesmerizing, satisfying a mysterious something in the soul while carrying the heart to a place of peace.

The water just flows; we do nothing to make it happen. It goes where it wants to go. Try to stop it, and it finds a way around the obstacle. Put in your hand, and it caresses your flesh. And it continues, on and on, day and night, year after year, century after century.

A better symbol for the love flowing from God’s heart is hard to find. Maybe that is why people come here, thirsty for a love that has no end.

Pr. David L. Miller

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Twice blessed


Remember the long way the Lord your God has led you (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Twice blessed

Little do we know what memories will appear in the length of a day. Today, it is Mrs. Moll, the pastor’s wife, long since gone to be with the Lord.

It’s nearly 60 years since I’ve seen her, except in my heart where she is as present as my fingers on these keys.

She stood at the head of the pews in our little church and taught us to sing, a gift for which I will be grateful all my days. Even now one of her songs comes back, hardly sophisticated or in a theology I fully endorse, but there it is, evoking a tear.

“Living for Jesus, a life that is true,” the song starts, and even now, after all the years and miles traveled, it reminds me what and whose I am. I belong to a Lord who loves me and whose Spirit pleads in my heart to never forget it.

Remember, the scripture says. Don’t forget all the ways the Lord in greatest love has claimed and blessed you along your journey. It’s a gracious command. The things you remember return and bless you again.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Carried away

 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. The upright will see it and are glad (Psalm 107:1, 42)

Carried away


O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. The upright will see it and are glad (Psalm 107:1, 42)

 The slightest breeze embraces early morning on the deck, so faint it is, yet effortlessly transporting the heart to a different place.

The mind falls silent. Consciousness descends to a deeper realm, an awareness of heart for the preciousness of this moment. Resting there, the heart sees what the eyes cannot perceive. It knows what the mind cannot discern.

 There is love, make that Love, at the heart of things, at their Source, who dwells also in the heart’s own depth. Only so can such moments come when we experience spontaneous oneness with God and with life itself, filling us with joy and love for the simple gift and sheer miracle of being alive.  

 The steadfast love of God endures forever, which includes this moment and the next and the next. If we keep looking, eyes peeled and eager to see, moments come when something common—a morning breeze, a child’s smile, a cloud mounting against a cobalt sky—will carry us away to see what is always there.

 Pr. David L. Miller


Monday, August 24, 2020

Walk humbly, speak slowly

 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others (Mathew 23:1-5a).

Walk humbly, speak slowly

Something remarkable occurs in Jesus’ perception. He recognizes truth in the words of those who oppose him, something almost unheard of in our current social and political environment.

Today, complex issues are reduced to binary formulas. You are either with Black Lives Matter or you support the police. You are either a Democrat or a Republican, a progressive or someone who deserves to be ‘cancelled.’

Sides form, opinions harden; one side (one’s own) is considered is good, wise and just while the other gets dismissed as wrongheaded, self-serving and evil.

Public discourse is reduced to sloganeering and accusations, which means there is no discourse, no exchange at all.

Unfortunately, so many Christians and churches in our society are little or no better. Their … make that our … spiritual convictions and commitments get eclipsed by political and social ideologies, conservative and liberal, which overwhelm the wisdom of our faith and the presence of the love of Christ in our souls. Today, the attitudes, opinions and behaviors of most American Christians are little more than a mirror of the political and social divides in our society, and all because we fail to ask, what is the call of Christ in our time and place?

The call of Christ, to walk as Jesus walked, can seldom, if ever, be wholly identified with any ideology, political opinion or association because these are all self-aggrandizing and demand the kind of total loyalty no Christian can or should give anyone or anything, except Jesus the Christ.

And Jesus walks in the humility of knowing only God is ultimate good, and the truth of God and how to walk with God appears in many places and people, even in those who opposed, hated, rejected and reviled him.

Listen and do as they say, Jesus says about those teachers who taught people to honor God, but do not do as they do, he added, for they are all about themselves and have no compassion in their hearts.

If we are to follow Jesus, if we are to stand with him, we must avoid the shouting and listen, humbly, for voices that speak compassion and truth, which is always more subtle and nuanced than slogans and placards allow.

We might start by listening to that voice within ourselves.

Pr. David L. Miller