Saturday, August 29, 2015
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Take liberal mounts of joy and sorrow, love and loss. Mix thoroughly. Make sure each element blends closely with the others. There you have it. Life.
And in the midst of it all … there is love, the Great Love you are, Holy One.
I hear you on the phone in the trembling voice of a soul who carries the wounds and worries of dozens, now saying farewell to a decades-long friend carried away by our old nemesis, cancer.
I feel it, too, in the tears that form in my eyes as I listen to her and feel the welling of soul within that fills me with the knowledge that there is always this … Love, this grace that embraces the whole mixed up mess … me … all I love … everything.
You find me, fill me, assure and love me, filling this heart with truest knowledge of Love’s unfailing embrace. Amid the mess and confusion, disappointment and delight, elation and inevitable limits of our lives … Love is. Great Love. You.
No matter what, in all manner and mix of circumstances, the Love you are remains … and will, stirring a hope that no matter what comes or where we go … we shall know the holy goodness of love and life. Our hearts will feel the fullness of your presence.
The pilot light of hope within is no illusion but an ever-burning witness to the truth that You Are the Great Love who finds us amid the craziness … and fills us with the quiet peace of knowing … You.
For finding me again, for the Love You Are, for giving me life, receive these two necessary but totally inadequate words … thank you.
Pr. David L. Miller
Friday, August 28, 2015
‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
A mother sits on the couch in the narthex, nursing her two-month old.
Two friends share a drink after a long day and talk about their families, their kids, their hopes.
Another mother talks to her stressed-out daughter, assuring her she did the right thing.
A group of volunteers swing hammers and wield saws in the heat of a July sun, tearing down a house destroyed in a tornado so a new one can be built.
A member of our church reads the prayer line and sits to pray for someone newly diagnosed with cancer, or reads a call from our meal train to prepare a dinner for someone sick or recovering.
I don’t need to work hard to image in those scenes because I have seen each of them. They each have something to teach us, and each one offers a word of encouragement that should guide the way we live and warm our hearts, too.
What they have in common is unity, unity of love, unity of heart, unity of purpose. In one way or another, the terrible divisions that separate human souls and pull us apart are overcome in each case. There is oneness in spirit and care, oneness in mission. Hearts are no longer separate but connected.
This oneness feels good because it completes us … and it completes God’s hope for us and all the world, at least in part.
Jesus prayed that this followers, the church, would be one, just as he and the heavenly Father shared inseparable oneness of love and mission. God’s hope and mission is to join us, all of us and all things, in a sea of communal love that is witnessed and experienced, however partially whenever the walls between two hearts and minds collapse and we look at each other with mutual appreciation and understanding.
In this unity of love and purpose, we shine with the same glory that was in Jesus. Our hearts grow large and full yet spacious with plenty of room for others. The need to compete, to prove oneself right or better or smarter than others disappears. The desire to compare ourselves with others goes away and for a moment … with full hearts, free and at peace … we taste and touch the kingdom of God
Pr. David L. Miller