Thursday, January 08, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mark 1:7-11

In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.' 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.'

God’s pleasure

I have made my choice for my word of the year--joy. This is what I will seek each day and in each situation. I will try to bring the joy that is the strength of the people of God to each encounter. I will focus on this one thing.

A memory sticks in my mind from seven or eight years ago. I had just preached at the seminary chapel where I was on the faculty. A visitor approached me and told me they had enjoyed my sermon, but they had one suggestion: “You need to smile.” My message had been joyous, but my face did not match the meaning of my words.

Christ calls us a life of knowing the joy that fills and spills from the heart, as from an overflowing reservoir. So each day that I come to these keys and with each person I meet, I will seek the joy of the Lord that I might enter God’s pleasure.

I will seek to know and show the pleasure of the Love who exalts in giving itself away in blessing.

The Holy One looks upon Jesus at his baptism and blesses him, “You are my son; my favor rests on you.” There is joy in this for God … and for Jesus.

In this blessing, Jesus knows and feels his belovedness. He is treasured by the Wonder from whom all things come. Love and blessing fill his heart as he knows who he is, knowing, too that the blessing of God shall fill and follow him wherever he goes.

And the Father, the Loving Mystery who is from the beginning, ever-seeking to live in us, He, too, lives in joy.

Seldom do we think of the joy or divine pleasure of God, but this blessing of Jesus is joy in the heart of God. It is God’s pleasure to give and bless, to heal and love. The movement of blessing from the divine heart bears a rush of ecstasy from the divine heart to ours.

When we know and share this joy--speaking it from our hearts, sharing it in our actions--we place ourselves in the middle of this joyous flow, and we know … the joy of God for which we are made.

As our lips curl into a smile, the Holy One is well pleased.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, January 05, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mark 1:6-8
John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'

Joyous love

What is this Holy Spirit if not the presence of God’s joyous love that moves continually out of the divine heart to embrace the beloved?

The Spirit is joy and life, and where the Spirit is present human hearts become alive and beautiful, shining radiant with the joyous light of the One who is from the beginning.

On the first page of the first book of the Bible, the Spirit of God hovers over a dark watery chaos. The Spirit moves and light appears. Do we think the unimaginable power who fashioned the universe did so begrudgingly … and not from the joy of expressing what was in the divine heart?

The Holy One sprinkled star light across the endless expanse of heaven for the joy of seeing beauty and wonder spring from the endless wonder of God’s immeasurable heart. Joyous love is the Source of our lives and all that is. We are made for this.

We know and feel the joy of God’s creative love every time we know the pleasure of a job well done. Every time we create or grow or give something … and find joy in it … we experience God’s joyous love moving in us, bringing joy to our inmost being.

It is with joy that John promises One who is to come, the One who will baptize--immerse and soak us to the bone--in the joy of God so that we might pour out the joy of that Love who has neither beginning nor end.

The human heart is a leaky vessel that empties out amid the challenges of living and requires re-filling. This should not discourage anyone. For, Christ comes not once but many times through our lives. It is his joy to pour out the Love he is that our joy might be restored, new … every morning, filled with joyous light.

So we live with expectation, knowing … the One who comes will visit us with joyous love from the fullness of his heart.

Pr. David L. Miller