Friday, February 21, 2020

Red’s return

Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.’ (Hosea 6:3)

Red's return

A sunny day this time of year has us itching for spring. Winter has gone on long enough. We’re tired of coats and eager to see the earth come alive in all its splendor.

Yes, it’s still too early to get our hopes up. Snow will cover the ground again. The temperature will dip lower than we like, but never mind. Hope wells from our depths, stirring impatience and anticipation for the first small signs of color and life to appear and wipe away winter gray.

And it happens. A familiar call interrupts a walk along a well-trekked path.  I hear spring, but cannot yet see it. Nothing in the high branches. The oaks are brown and bare as February can be.

The call sounds again, and I whistle, echoing the call, once, twice, three times, until a confused cardinal replies, likely thinking that’s the sickest bird I’ve ever heard.

But there he is, crimson fire in the low branches, alight against the blue of sky finally clear of winter’s gloom. A nearby female cocks her head at my clumsy attempt to enter her world.
I’m just glad she has entered mine.

Snows will yet come, ice and bitter winds, too. But the redbirds’ return awakens a smile of knowing that hope is not an illusion nor wishful thinking. Their call is the harbinger of tomorrow, the herald of life soon to rise from the cold earth … once more.

The message of hope is written into the fabric of creation, important to remember as we enter our annual Lenten confrontation with mortality and egoism. The message is clear. Never lose hope. Let it breathe.

The truth of Christ is etched in creation’s deepest code. Losses come, mortality is inescapable, and we are destined to fail our highest impulses.

But that which falls rises again, that which dies comes to life under the warm glow of a Love who holds each and every one. I know.

The red birds told me.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The place of plenty

Do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ (Mark 8:18b-21)

The place of plenty

You are the place of plenty, dearest Christ, and you are never far off.

Beneath the roiling emotions of the moment, you remain, deep within, love eternal and unbounded, waiting for us to descend into the mystery of who we are.

That mystery is you, deep within. You are close as our breath, saints of old tell us. But too seldom we believe it.

We confuse ourselves with the struggles or successes of the day, with what we have accomplished … or not, with guilt we carry or wounds that have never quite healed.

But our real identity is eternal and unchanging, even as the emotions of the hour toss us about.

We are the love that appears when we pray, aloud, releasing the tensions of the day into the air. It is then we discover we are something more, something profoundly alive and beautiful.

It is love, the Love Christ is, deep and ever-plentiful, we find beneath our fears and fa├žade, hidden by our defenses and the social clothing in which we dress ourselves.

We should go, often, to this place of plenty, and receive the food which satisfies the soul. The One who awaits you within is Love and nothing but, who wonders why you do not return every day to eat the food that fills and frees your heart.  

‘Do you not see?’ he pleas. ‘I am Love, always there, always enough, always plenty for every need.’

Pr. David L. Miller