The human heart is God’s place of business. God plants seeds here. God heals brokenness here. God reaches out into the world from here. Faith grows here. The human heart is even made in the image of the Divine Heart. There can be no more intimate relationship than that of two hearts beating as one, and this is the Holy Will of God for us today – that our hearts and God’s heart may beat as one.
This does, of course, require sacrifice on my part. After all, my heart’s desire doesn’t always match that of God’s. Yet, the reward for such sacrifice is beyond the mind’s comprehension. For the desire of God is a peace that I have never known, and cannot even dream into my imagination. The desire of God is unwavering hope in the face of all suffering. The desire of God is perfect communion for a world that is so often quick to seek reason for division. The desire of God for all creation is the unity, tolerance, and acceptance of a family centered solely upon the oneness emanating from perfect and unconditional love. The desire of God for my heart is that it may fall into the totality of God’s rhythm and harmony. Only then can I know the fullness of God’s presence.
I may resist. I may believe that somehow I know better or that this vision is just a fairy tale. However, I would risk missing the greatest of all joy. My heart was molded by God, and bears God’s very fingerprints. Thus, it belongs to God more than it belongs to me. In moments where I actually release this beating heart inside of me to the musings of the Lord, I experience something I can never describe, but so desperately wish to live. It is the peace born of a creation so beautifully and perfectly brought to life by the breath of God.
Thus, I walk this path with the assurance that hate will not ultimately win the heart of humankind, for the human heart is God’s to have and to love. My place in this cosmic battle is small and yet ever so powerful. I only must reflect this truth to my weary brothers and sisters on a daily basis. It is, without question, God’s Heart alone that stirs new life in our world. Amen.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)
Our world moans today. I have very often turned to God with tears in my eyes or pain in my soul. Somehow, I expect God to make it better, or to at least grant me solace in knowing I am not walking this life alone. Often, I do experience a sense of peace in turning to the Lord. Yet, I also find myself wondering where God turns for solace in moments such as these. Is it possible we are here to comfort our Creator and Redeemer?
I imagine that the events which reduce us to anger or resignation, also stir deep and passionate response in the Lord. I cannot accept the notion that in moments where God has held my hand as I sobbed in grief, the emotion hasn’t been equally shared. God must know the depth of my sorrow, for so very often I have asked for it to be taken from me. This sorrow that so easily pierces my soul is but tiny within the vast grace of God’s Spirit swallowing it. Yet, somehow I know my Lord understands, because one cannot live in loving relationship to another without truly experiencing that person’s life. Thus, I find myself envisioning days like this, where God is standing by my side with tears rolling from those beautiful eyes filled with such compassion. I can almost hear the inaudible word, “Why?” I can almost sense the breaking of a most Holy Heart – and I want to respond.
I understand I can offer no words of comfort, for my being is far too inadequate to share the depth of God’s sorrow in the same way that God has shared mine. Yet, I feel so desperately the need to react somehow. So, I reach out my hand as only a little child can, placing it in God’s hand and looking up as if to say, “Please don’t be sad.” It’s not enough, and yet it is more than enough. For the innocent and pure love of a child can melt even the greatest heart of all. Thus, again in these days where God watches us in deep sorrow, as we wish to make those eyes beam with pride again, we do the only thing we know how to do. We reach out our hands to God, and gently offer whatever love we have to give. Amen.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)
I found myself standing on a gravel driveway, looking toward the street. To my left was an old farmhouse. To my right was a large garage, surrounded by trees and a small garden. At the curb in front of me stood a gigantic tree who had weathered so many storms for so many years. On this day a cold rain fell, but I hardly noticed. My mind was filled with images of what might have been in a day gone by.
The farmhouse and property in Prospect Heights had once belonged to my Great-Grandparents and then Grandparents. My Mom and Aunt had grown up here, helping with everyday farmstead chores. Through the years, I had heard stories and seen pictures, but now I stood on this land for the very first time. Images of my Grandfather tending the soil flooded my mind. Trees that he had planted stood proudly next to me. I could literally see my Mom as a child sitting under the great tree by the curb. I was imagining life as they knew it, and as I have never known. I still hope that someday I can step foot inside that old house where people who would influence my life’s trajectory would themselves be shaped. Perhaps it is not history, but rather connection, that I seek here.
I have precious few memories of my Grandfather, and never met my Grandmother or Great-Grandparents. My Mom has been gone for over 20 years now herself. Occasionally my Aunt tells stories and looks at a picture or two with me, but she is not my only bridge to the life my ancestors once lived. For I know deep in my soul that those who have gone before me are still somehow with me. Their love still shines in my heart, and their faith still glows in my being. The person I am has been shaped by their life, whether I have personally known that life or not. This is God’s way. We live in a web of life far beyond our comprehension, where our influence far exceeds that which we observe. And thus, as I stand on a driveway gazing into the past, I can also glance ahead into the future – to a day decades from now, when a young man or woman will stand inside a Church in Elgin, staring at a pulpit and an altar, imagining what my voice may have sounded like in a room full of God’s faithful. I hope that they will smile, as their mind’s eye runs wild. Who knows, I may even be watching from the balcony above, my love and faith standing ever so close to their heart – as the Communion of All God’s Children stretches onward.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Elgin, IL)
For just a few moments, I stopped in my tracks as my attention was shifted away from my keys and my door – and instead was drawn out into the night. It had been a long and blessed day, and I was tired. Yet, I couldn’t resist the calling of sanctuary all around me. I listened intently as a chorus of frogs and crickets dominated the night. I marveled as clouds strolled past the partial moon and the twinkling stars, creating glorious patterns of shadows in the sky above. I allowed the breeze to engulf my face. On this humid evening in the darkness, the creation was loud and bold, and my humanity was quiet and still. It felt as if the night itself was a sanctuary within which I should stay. God was here.
Hours earlier, I had been at a conference with colleagues -new friends- representing five states and four different Christian denominations. I had sat in a Chapel alone praying – and read repeatedly from Psalm 69, “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.” (This was the verse the Bible was opened to on the pulpit.) Our group had prayed together, worked together, and then spent time in fellowship around a meal together. All the while, I was thinking of my daughter traveling, my son planning a wedding, and my wife working and dealing with the water and mold in our basement. I had even received a request back at church to lead a funeral this weekend. My day, as with so many others, had been full of hope, joy and some worry measured in. Which is why on this night I smiled, as I realized that at the close of the hectic chaos of my day, it was the Lord who had turned to me – inviting me to simply take a breath in the presence of pure love and peace. Sometimes, my Lord, I find myself needing a gentle reminder of Your full presence in this life. Thus, I say thank you – for bringing a sanctuary to me even as I failed to seek one out myself. Thank you for resting your hand upon my shoulder, and simply saying “hello.” Amen!
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)