Tuesday, August 04, 2020
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. (Matthew 13:13-14)
Longing for Home
Were I a film maker, I would freeze this moment. I’d fix the camera on Jesus’ face as he stands on the rocky beach, his face panning the crowd.
I’d let it linger on his face, then close in on his eyes, letting the mystery he is unfold in our hearts until the compassion in his soul brings tears to our eyes.
Feeling this, we’d know the meaning of that indefinable longing that rises unexpected within us. It comes in moments when beauty or grace or love or even suffering awakens this yearning, an unquenchable craving for something we cannot quite name, except maybe … home.
Behind every desire lies this one, this pining for a Love that is more than love, a Beauty that is more than beauty, a Healing that is final because it is the answer to that longing we have carried all our lives.
Seeing Jesus’ eyes, I know that for which every soul aches. We yearn to feel whatever is in him in us, to know his soul within our own … at that unreachable place which is the source of our longing.
We crave unbroken oneness with this Love. Only this satisfies our souls. This is the home for which our hungry hearts hunt in every moment and circumstance whether we recognize it or not.
Just I so, I stand beside him for a while, watching as he surveys the crowd, waiting for the moment that the Love in him awakens that Love within my own needy soul.
The moment may not come right away. I may need to wait. The wait may be long, but it will come … and carry me home.
Pr. David L Miller
Friday, July 31, 2020
He came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?’ And they took offence at him. (Matthew 13:54-57a)
Just for you
Our souls cry out to be known that the gifts within us might be shared. So it is not hard to imagine what Jesus felt as he walked away amid the whispers of those who thought they knew him.
Surely, he felt disappointment and frustration when he was dismissed by those in his hometown. But grief may have been the major emotion. He could not give, he could not bless, he could not share the beauty that was in him to lift their lives and ignite their hope.
His very soul was denied. The divine love that filled him could not flow out to engulf their hearts. He came to give a gift of soul and was denied by those who imagined there wasn’t much in him worth having.
Little did they know that soul was a pearl of immense and surpassing worth. Little could they imagine that opening their hearts and minds to the depth of his being could yield a joy and hope that transcended every suffering and trouble they ever experienced.
Refusing him, they could not enter lives of knowing the immeasurable greatness of divine love.
Different as Jesus is from us, in many ways we are the same—human, born with a soul, each of us bearing unique gifts to be given away. Our daily task is to do as Jesus does—give whatever beauty and grace we find in ourselves, bearing the disappointment and moving on to try again when the gifts we would give are refused.
This is the way that leads to joy in both wonderful and terrible times.
And one more thing: Always open your heart and mind to the next person you meet. You do not know what the Holy One may have placed in their soul just for you.
Pr. David L. Miller
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks (Luke 10:38-40a).
Come and sit here by me. This is Jesus’ invitation. Just sit. Here. You will rediscover your lost heart and remember who you are.
Living scatters consciousness. The mind spins from one thought to a disconnected next, flying off in divergent directions, losing track of the center, the heart of who we are.
Martha is a metaphor for fractured consciousness; distracted by many things every word and action bristles with impatient energy disconnected from any depth of heart and being. Everything gets done, but is there any love in it? Does her work flow from her heart or from feverish anxiety about superficial appearances?
At Jesus feet, Mary receives gifts of love and wisdom that penetrate the heart, filling her being so that she knows a deep acceptance and love embracing and filling her.
She becomes who she is, a human being, a vessel of this love who, like all of us, requires frequent filling because the stresses of life eclipse the heart.
When this happens, we live shallow lives. Words and actions leap of the top of our minds instead of flowing from the core of who we are as beloved beings. We lose ourselves, the joy of living from the heart of love where blessing and grace flow like water from a fountain.
Some live their entire lives in this unhappy state. For the rest of us, it is easy to lose ourselves in the whirl of living and perhaps especially amid the anxiety and sadness of Covid-19. With everything that has been lost during this time, the greatest is the loss of our souls, our heart, our humanity.
But we can be restored. For our humanity is a gift received while sitting at the feet of a great and all-surpassing love, who says, ‘Come sit by me. Let everything else go for a while and just be with me. You will find your heart.’
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom (Matthew 13:36-38)
Listening to these words, I long for something the first disciples enjoyed every day. They could hear his voice. They could listen and ask him to explain what they did not understand. It is easy to imagine Jesus sitting among them, trying to explain mysteries they failed to grasp.
Understanding or not, they, themselves were grasped by the mystery of his presence, a presence that echoes through moments like these in stories from the gospels. Through them, his presence resonates through the centuries that, I, too, might be grasped and challenged to believe that the life I am living is ‘good seed.’
Would to God that it were always so. I’d like it to be so, but I wonder how many opportunities I’ve failed, times when attention or courage faltered, times when my words or actions might have blessed a soul or redirected a moment to something better than it was. And now more of this life lies behind than before me.
So I wonder: Is there time to become the soul God made in making me? Can this life shine with a love I have long felt but so poorly lived?
All of life is a becoming, at any age, and now I want nothing more than to hear Jesus’ voice resonating in my soul and to become what, he says, I am, good seed, destined to give the world a taste of his divine kindness.
More than his words, it is this presence, the sound of his voice speaking within, telling us we are more than we imagine, that frees us to become what we are.
Listen to that voice, the resonance of love incarnate.
Pr. David L. Miller
Friday, July 24, 2020
May grace and peace be ours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter1:2-3)
The Life who is in you
Don’t settle for a life less than the one that is yours. It is not enough to endure shut-down and quarantine, waiting for the day we can discard our masks and hug old friends.
Each morning is resurrection, your resurrection. You are born anew. You rise under the gaze of the One who smiles and welcomes you in love to a new day.
Live. Now. Don’t wait for ‘normal times.’
Lift your head and look around with expectation. Look and see. You live in a world where Love lives, having shattered the grave. Cast off the gray shroud that veils your heart that you might see and feel the colors of earth’s wonder.
Look into the eyes of every person you meet and know this one, too, is an incarnation of the One who is Love, sent to you to love that you may be an agent of life.
Laugh at every small pleasure and joy. Release every fear of embarrassing yourself. Share every moment that blesses you. Sharing blessings binds our hearts with others, renewing both them and us.
The life in you is the Life Christ is, stronger than death, alive to every beauty, eager to receive each experience as an opportunity to feel and share the Love who is the blessed Source of each new day.
So don’t settle for merely surviving or enduring these times. Smile and know Life and Love lives at your core. Feel it there … and live it out. This is your true life. Don’t let the mood of the moment obscure or take it away.
Raised anew each morning by the Love who smiles on your rising, you are more blessed than you know. Live this day with joy and purpose, sharing out the Life who is in you.
Pr. David L. Miller
Friday, July 17, 2020
‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. (Luke 12:32-33)
Every thought of a vengeful, punitive god vanishes, banished by the joy of these words. We understand little of God if we do not smile, feeling the solicitous warmth of Jesus’ heart as he speaks of God’s pleasure.
We take pleasure in those we love, the antics of our children when they are small, their joys and accomplishments as they grow, celebrations with friends and family alike. So why not God? Why not the Father of Lights from whom all things come?
God delights to give us the kingdom, a gracious space of unlimited welcome, where our hearts release all anxious striving and defensiveness, where healing replaces hate, where death holds no fear, where exuberance fills space once occupied by guilt and shame and love is the air we breathe.
The Holy One smiles at the joy of our hearts as we are delivered from doldrums of life into the kingdom of his presence. No less than we, certainly, God takes pleasure giving gifts to beloved ones. And certainly, we are that. Exactly.
The treasures of the kingdom we know in present time are shadows of what will be. Hold these treasures close in your heart. Don’t turn away.
You need the gracious space of the kingdom more than anything else you treasure. So release your grip, your fascination and desire for anything that distracts from the gifts God pleased to give.
Do this, and joy will be yours. I suspect God will be no less pleased.
Pr. David L. Miller
Thursday, July 16, 2020
‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. (Luke 12:35-36)
The Master’s smile
There is no threat in Jesus’ words. They are filled with promise and excitement, alive with anticipation for the joy of seeing and welcoming his presence because, well, you just never know where and when the beauty of his loving face will appear, his smile so eager to be with you and share your nearness.
This is who God is and what God is like—like a master coming to share the joy of the feast, a feast of union for heaven and earth are joined. God and creation are one, married and made one so that the laughter of eternity and the everlasting love of paradise now infuse this earth.
They are seen in every love and grace, experienced in all that is light and goodness. Behind, within and through them all, we glimpse the smile of the Master coming from the banquet, eager to share all its goodness with us.
So keep your lamps lit that you may see and welcome the Master who comes in every goodness, every gift, every beauty, every smile, every life-giving moment. Open your eyes to see that you may enter the joy of knowing the laughter for eternity, even now.
Pr. David L. Miller