Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ephesians 3:14-15

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

Our name

My name is David Lavern Miller. I have long used the middle initial “L” if only to avoid having a name as bland as oatmeal.

There is another reason, too. Lavern is my father’s first name.

I say “is” even though he passed into the fullness of grace on Sept. 21, 2003. But there is no ‘was’ about him. He lives in the Love who fashioned him, and he lives in me, which is why I use the “L.”

I insist on it. An essential piece of me is missing anytime I see my name without it.

I received my name from him, and a name is never just a name. It is an identity, an essence, the truth of who we are. I am proud to bear his name. I am proud to be his son, to have his blood running through my veins and his hope in my heart.

The passion that often fills my heart and flows through my eyes testifies that I bear something of his heart within my own. And the hope I hold bears his mark, too. For he hoped for fullness of life and joy even while dragging around a broken body, forced to live a life he would never have chosen.

That I love him is obvious. And in loving him, in truly loving anyone or anything, I discover another gift, a deeper identity that any my father could give me.

In loving we feel and know our true name, a name given before we can receive any other.

For Love is our name. Love is our identity. Love is the deep truth of who we are. We are breathed into being by the Loving Mystery from whom we receive our life. Love is God’s name, a name given to us, but an identity we lose living in a less than loving world.

We forget our name and work at finding or making an identity that fits, but nothing we make ever quite fits us. For we are so much more than what our families and teachers say, more than what our education and jobs have made of us, more than our successes or failures suggest, more than what we say of ourselves.

But moments come when the noise and rush of life subside, when our fears fade, when we hear the silent voice of something more, something we did not create rising from within. We feel and know another self—Another Self—something, Someone … far more gracious rising from beneath the face we show the world.

And we know … our real name is Love. We are Children of the One Love from whom every family under heaven takes its name.

And in loving we know and become ourselves.

Pr. David L. Miller

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
   my whole life long.

Wherever, whatever

This life is a journey of unknowing. We do not know where we will go, who we will meet or what surprises will come. We do not know the dark valleys we will walk or what heights of crazy exhilaration will make us laugh, weep and dance. We cannot see what friends will appear to delight our hearts or what failures will weigh on our souls.

We don’t know.

And the longer we live the more we discover how little we understand the workings of the world and the mysteries of the human heart, especially are own.

Life unfolds as it will. Surprises come turning us in directions we could not have anticipated but which we must live with as much grace and hope as we can.

But the darkness of unknowing is grace, taking from us the illusion of control and any idea that our minds and strength will ever be enough to live the lives we are given.

In this darkness, the heart curls up and closes down in abject fear, or it opens to receive the mystery of what is and what will be without demanding the outcome.

I am not sure why the darkness of unknowing turns some to fear and others to open-hearted reception of life. Perhaps the sheer blessing of life and breath have opened a foundational faith that behind every goodness there is a Goodness, a Heart beyond their own whom they cannot see and cannot ever know.

Perhaps the mercies and graces that have touched their flesh have also reached their heart, suggesting an inner grace at the heart of life, a generosity of love and beauty that is not just there, but which follows and seeks human hearts wherever they go.

I just know there are hearts not cowed by the darkness. They welcome the days of unknowing, which is every day in every life. They dwell in hope, trusting that the darkness hides a Love that pursues and catches us ... and won't let go.

They know wherever they go and whatever happens … they live in the house of Lord, the land of the Beloved, whose mercy and goodness follow us every step of our journey.

If we know this … and I do, we have all we need.

Pr. David L. Miller

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday, July 24, 2015

Thursday, July 24, 2015

Psalm 23:1-3a

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; 
   he restores my soul.


Maybe it is the buttercream light of a summer evening, glow of heaven, smooth and rich, spread deep and soft across trees and well-trimmed yards. Maybe it is the orange marmalade streaking the western sky as the passionate red ball of earth’s sun falls again beneath the horizon to warm other hearts.

Or maybe it is something less celestial, like a few words on a page or the sound of a voice at which the heart springs to flight, a feathered bird, reaching heights only hearts of hope can know.

Whatever stirs this bird to flight I know its name and know, too, there is no life without it. Hope is its name, and it adjusts the eyes of the heart for the long view, looking down the road toward union with the Love it must crave for it was made by and for Love and craves the fullness of this Love in every love known.

And who knows why it takes flight at words or in the creamy glow of fading light? It just does, withholding its mystery from the minds of mere mortals.

Sometimes it seems to die when union seems impossible, only to take flight again and restore the heart, filling it with the knowledge necessary for life.

And that is this: Love remains and seeks us, leading us to places (still waters or golden evenings maybe) that stir hope’s feathered bird to take flight and lift us above the ditch of doubt so that we taste and know sweet union with the Love we seek.

Hope tastes what it wants and needs, seeking the fullness the heart demands. That’s what we are, Children of Love seeking union with the Love who seeks us.

For this, we hope. Always.

Pr. David L. Miller