Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today’s text

Mark 1:14-15

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the gospel from God saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.'


Repent and believe. It sounds like our basic problem is believing, Jesus. Our most fundamental repenting is about who or what we believe.

And believing is no mere mental act. It is not working up the power to think something is true even if you are not sure.

Believing is an investment of self, a believing into. It is giving yourself to a truth, a reality, a claim beyond oneself.

We are all believers, all are given, all are surrendered to truth that may or not be so. But to be human is to give yourself to truth in the hope that truth is real, leading to a life that fulfills the gift of our humanity, heart, hand and mind.

Repent, you say. The kingdom, the rule of the Almighty One, the Living Source, the Fountain of Creation has come. God comes to rule. Believe it. Give yourself to this rule. Surrender to its claims. Put your hand to its purposes.

But all this avoids the personal. For I know there are too many moments that reveal to me that I believe in what is not gospel. I believe that I must earn my keep, prove my worth. And in fatigue I come to the end of the day wondering if I am of any value at all. My soul feels its defeat.

Perhaps it’s only the fatigue talking. But at the root of the weariness is a truth that some part of me believes and to which that part is given. It believes--I believe--that I am my last performance. I am of value as my work has quality, and establishing my value must be done again and again.

It’s not an unusual belief. It is so common and average I am almost embarrassed. I expect more of myself. I should think I could be more unique. But I am not.

I am just one more soul in need of repentance, of turning from false truth that kills the soul to the gospel of your nearness, Holy One. For you are near, your kingdom comes. I believe that, and I would extend to myself the grace of it that I so eagerly claim and give to others.

Repent, my soul, and believe the gospel. God comes to rule you complete. My soul, you are measured by an infinite grace. Enter the circle of blessed rest. The Love who holds you longs to fill every dusty, unbelieving corner of your being.

Pr. David L. Miller

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 25, 2009

Today’s text

Mark 1:12-13

And at once the Spirit drove him into the desert, and he remained there for forty days, and was put to the test by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels looked after him.


Driven. I don’t like the sounds of that, but it speaks a truth of your life, Jesus, something that is true of every life.

We each are driven. Our drivers are usually not hard to discover.

Success, attractiveness, wealth, security, fear of failure, rejection or pain, the maintenance of a particular image, a comfortable life: these are common drivers.

Old voices that judged, cajoled or stung us also drive, pushing us in one direction or another. We obey them more often than not, trying to find a way to make them shut up, or we rebel against them in vain effort to show our independence from them. But even our rebellion reveals their power over us.

Sometimes are drivers are the hunger to protect and serve, to bless and heal, to give and love. Great developments of science, medicine and the arts are born of such drivenness, as are great acts of sacrifice for a child, a parent, a friend.

So drivenness isn’t all bad, just so long as it doesn’t destroy us and others in the process.

Or am I wrong, Jesus?

You were driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for testing, to get ready for the road ahead. That road led to your destruction. You were destroyed by your zeal, by the Spirit of God who drove you to love as God loves, to give as God gives, to surrender to a purpose that brought you human rejection and immense pain.

That scares us, Jesus. We know being driven by the Spirit of the All Loving One will take us beyond ourselves and well beyond our comfort. It will lead us to wonder if we are a little crazy for loving and following you. It will move us to love and care about people and places that we could easily ignore.

It will comfort and love us, while pushing us to be the love and comfort we receive. So we shy away, knowing we are not up to the challenge. It is easier to seek our own comfort.

But one way or the other, we are driven by something, something in our spirit, or something in yours, Jesus.

It’s a hard prayer, but still I must say it: Drive me beyond myself to love and care as you. Part of my heart shudders with fear at the thought; another part demands to be given away.

It’s that driver in me I can’t escape.

Pr. David L. Miller

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today’s text

Mark 1:91-11

It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. And at once, as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.'


You carried a secret, Jesus. You saw what you saw. The encircling dish of the heavens rip open, and the light of forever appears. A dove descends as a voice speaks.

“You are my beloved, my son, on whom my favor rests.”

That’s the secret you carried with you along all the dusty roads you walked. That’s the identity of which you were certain on the days when the powerful rejected you, denounced you and plotted your destruction.

Every challenge could be met by reference and remembrance of who you are: I am the beloved. I dwell in the circle of God’s eternal favor. My identity is nothing others say about me or do to me. The opinions and deeds of human hearts do not define me.

I am beloved of the Eternal Wonder. I dwell in the secret heart of Love Eternal. I am the unique living word of the One who is life.

And you carried on, Jesus, carried by the secret you cherished at the core of your being.

Everything starts and is empowered by your identity, an identity given to you, a gift of the God whose pleasure is to give gifts. You indwelt that gift, your heart never straying from the central truth of God’s blessing which never fades or fails.

I want this, and on my very best moments I taste it. These are not moments when I am good or wise, but moments when I simply know and rest in the identity of belovedness you share with me, this truth abiding into which you constantly welcome me.

Everything depends on resting in this identity: my peace and power, my hope and patience, my courage and love, my smile and joy. All that is best in this mortal body rises like the warm morning sun when I know I am what you say, not what others think or how I see my days and deeds.

I am what you say and give: beloved, chosen, favored, sharing in the identity that is your gift to give.

So let the day begin.

Pr. David L. Miller