Morning devotion: The Shepherd’s voice

Morning Devotion 2019

May 15, 2019

[T]he sheep follow [the shepherd] because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ (John 10:4-5)

The Shepherd’s voice

The shepherd’s voice resonates deep within us. We recognize the voice for it is the voice of a great and unsurpassable Love, a Love we know because our souls are made in Love’s image.

Soul, a word so impossible to define, is the presence of this Love within the human being, longing for communion with its unlimited Source. Only so, do we know ultimate safety and peace and freedom to be whatever it is we truly are.

The soul hears and recognizes the Love who is its Source in all that is born of Love—in kindness, in sacrificial acts of care, in heartfelt service, in true friendship, in those who carry on in hope when life is most difficult.

The voice of the shepherd is heard in all of this and more. Each such sounding of Love in our soul in some measure fills and fulfills our hearts, unless we have succumbed to the illusions of the world that suggest fulfillment is about personal victory and getting more than others.

Our souls are made by and for the Love who is creation’s Source. We can and do forget this. All of us do, and some never know.

There are those so abused or simply denied the Love the soul craves that they cannot hear or trust the deepest cry of their own hearts to know Love’s care and presence. Something must break through the hard crust around their souls before they know the beauty of their own creation and the One who seeks them in every love that comes their way.

For it is true: The Shepherd, the Christ, speaks in every love crying out for our souls. Love calls for the beloved. Calling us home.

Listen, just listen. Love seeks you. Everywhere.

Pr. David L. Miller

Lenten Devotion: To know

April 20,2019

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

To know

My soul grows quiet as Jesus surrenders his spirit to the Father. Tears form as he shows me how to live and die … and how truly safe I am.

He hands himself over to the Extraordinary Love who has animated him from the very beginning of his days. He knows that in death he will enter the fullness of this Love, whom he has trusted all along.

There is nothing new here. This is the culmination of what has always been. He handed himself over to this Love long before this moment. He has known this Mystery in his own heart, throughout his days.

So there is no panic amid his horrid end, no anxious fight for one more breath. There is only trust in the Love whom he has always know is always there.

He releases himself into the eternal mystery of Eternal and Everlasting Love who has filled his heart from the very start.

And for this, I say, Thank you, my brother. Thank you for showing me what I so often fail to trust.

You show me the way of living and dying, the way of trusting this Love who calls each of us and everything into being.

Handing over your spirit, you bid me to release myself, everything that I am, trusting Extraordinary Love will catch and hold me in every circumstance of life … and at life’s end, which is not the end at all.  

You want me to know the Love you know, the Love you are. 

And watching you, I know, more than ever.

Pr. David L. Miller 

Lenten Devotion: The Truth he is

Good Friday, April 19, 2019

Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ (John 18:37-38)

The Truth he is

Pilate’s question is exactly the right one to ask. What is truth?

This is not a question about facts and details but about the meaning of life, the meaning of the universe itself, if it has any meaning at all.

For the Pilates of every age, the meaning of life is power, to have and hold it, to wield it for one’s advantage. He is not an inordinately evil man. He is a personification and an exaggeration of common wisdom.

We use what small or great power we manage to accumulate to protect ourselves and our interests. There is a certain amount of Pilate in every human being.

But is this the truth of the universe? Is this … what it is all about? Is life a matter of getting what you want, protecting it and satisfying the demands of ego to be as comfortable as you can?

Or is there something more that calls us beyond ourselves into a greater enterprise? Does the universe actually have an overriding meaning that implores us to align our hearts and actions to its call?

It has always been telling to me that Jesus doesn’t answer Pilate’s question, what is truth?He just stands there … because he is the answer, his life, everything he is and does is the truth.

He is totally given and totally filled with an Extraordinary Love, which is the best name we have for God.

Extraordinary Love seeks to gather all that is in an eternal embrace, a great and holy oneness in which everything is imbued and filled with the Love who pours from Jesus as he simply stands there, refusing hatred and retaliation, loving in the face of evil’s rampart power, loving right to the end.

This is truth. We praise, reverence and serve this One … that our hearts may know the truth he is.

Pr. David L. Miller

Lenten Devotion: Watch his hands

Thursday, April 19, 2019

Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (John 13:1b-5)

Watch his hands

Jesus takes off his outer robe, picks up a towel, ties it around his waist, lifts a pitcher and pours water in a basin and motions for his friends to sit by him.

Watch his hands. He touches and washes their feet, placing a heel in his palm and pouring water over each foot. He washes one, then another and another, until he has washed all of them, even Peter, even Judas, even those who will run away. He humbly does what only slaves could be required to do.

The moment is intense, intimate; words fall away. The only sound is the drip of water into a bowl. Jesus gives himself to his friends, lest they forget the love that pours from the Father through him and onto them.

Jesus’ hands tell us what he is doing as he allows himself to be taken and crucified. He is bathing us in a great love that makes our hearts new.

He is washing away the weight of shame and guilt, regret and sorrow, loneliness and despair. He is seeking every lost corner of our hearts where we imagine we are abandoned or of little worth.

He immerses us in an ocean of Love that we may feel the freedom of being saved and experience the radiant Spirit of Life and Love filling us.

He tells us to break bread together and wash each feet not so that we might remember him, but so we can experience him here and now, a present reality, touching us, entering our bodies, caressing and consoling our hearts with the warmth of infinite love.

In the intimate, tender acts of touching and breaking bread we share the union, the oneness, the closeness, Jesus shares with the heavenly Father that our hearts my know, truly know, the healing Presence for which we long.

Pr. David L. Miller

 

Lenten Devotion: A Prayer for Notre Dame

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Prayer for Notre Dame

Loving God, in every age you have moved your people to acts of great reverence and devotion, stirring the hearts of the faithful to create music, art and symbols of beauty that have stirred the longings and prayers of countless millions. 

Look with mercy on the burnt embers of Notre Dame Cathedral where countless souls have been moved to prayer, praise and to seek you whom no human walls can contain. Console the people of France and Paris for whom the cathedral’s beauty and noble spire have been a symbol of faith, pride and national identity. 

Send the Spirit of your love to all who mourn the immensity of this loss, and unite the hearts of all the faithful on this holiest of weeks that knowing your love we may trust ever-more greatly in you, who bring life from death and hope from the flames of destruction, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Pr David L. Miller

Lenten Devotion: Tragedy to Triumph

Friday, April 12, 2019

Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
   and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.
 (Isaiah 53:12)

Tragedy to triumph

We stand on the brink of Holy Week when unholy things will occur. They occur every week, but this is the week when we consider the great tragedy of the human heart and history.

The gift of God’s own presence is refused and killed, hung on a cross. This is the rejection of the Love the human heart most needs, but most fears.

Fears? Yes, because receiving the Love who is our Source not only gives joy but moves us beyond ourselves in acts of great care. Knowing the Love Who Is carries us beyond our comfort zone. It asks us transform the world by caring for those who are difficult for us, forgiving what we don’t want to forgive and loving this world even when it is most unlovely.  

It coaxes us to release our delusional grasp on our futures and trust that Love, after all, is enough to hold and give us what we need in the great unknown that stretches before us.

This week, we watch Jesus pour himself out to death, receiving the brutality of those who do not want the world or themselves to be transformed by Love. He bears their abuse, refusing to pay back evil for evil, even praying for those who do not understand that they are trying to kill the very Love they most need.

But they cannot, of course. For the week that witnesses the great folly of the human race ends in startled wonder, as we see once more that Love, indeed, is stronger than every death that has ever been. 

Seeing this, our hearts will fill with life once more.

Pr. David L. Miller