Thursday, February 06, 2020

Let it shine

‘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. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Let it shine

Luciana’s photo popped up on her mom’s Facebook page. The photo was blurry and a little dark, but her unmistakable, toothy grin shined even brighter than the flame on the baptismal candle sparkling in her eyes.

She’s six now, and that candle has been lit on her baptismal anniversary every year since the day I poured water over her head and held up her candle for everyone one to see. The candle burns … reminding her who she is.

She is a beloved child of God, a holy vessel of an everlasting love. The light of God’s joy and love dances in her eyes and illumines the heart of her family … and of our congregation.

Days will come that darken her eyes, when doubts appear, when she imagines she has done something wrong, when she feels rejected or doesn’t feel “good enough.” Moments of sadness will shadow her smile when loss and disappointments cause her to forget how precious and beautiful she is … and how much we need the love shining from her heart.

Whenever happens for her … or for any of us, I hope there is something or someone to whisper the truth: You are the light of the world. The love of Jesus shines in your heart. 

Never forget. This is who you are. So let it shine.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Blessed are you

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:1-3)

Blessed are you

Even here, even now, you are blessed, no matter what joy or struggle is yours today. Look and see.

Jesus looks and sees the crowds. They are male and female, young and old, sick and well, poor and, well, most are very poor. He sees beyond outward appearance to the urgency of their hearts, eagerly waiting, hoping to hear something that will bless and fan the flame of hope.

But he sees even more. Jesus sees the everlasting love of God at work in all of life and in their lives. They are blessed, but they do not see it.  

The poverty of their hearts is the presence of God’s Spirit drawing them to the fullness of love that is theirs. Their sadness over losses and painful lives opens their souls to the One who will pour life and love into their hurts.

Their hunger for mercy and peace reveals the Spirit laboring deep within them, crying out for God to heal the cycle of hurt and retribution that has scarred human history ever since Cain killed Abel.

Their thirst for righteousness is a prayer for the kingdom of heaven to fill the world with the very compassion with which Jesus sees the crowds as they gather around him.

The kingdom of blessedness is alive within them, working, praying, aching, crying out, drawing them to the feet of the One who will open their eyes to the everlasting love who heals their hearts and the troubled world they inhabit.

Blessedness is the deepest truth of their lives … and ours. So open our eyes, Lord, that we may see and know blessing you are. 

Pr. David L. Miller