GOD’S LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING

God’s Love changes everything. It is a Grace which flows like a river, transforming and transfiguring all life which wades amidst its currents. It is a Creative Imagination which has literally dreamt this universe into being. It is a booming Voice which cries out across the mountains, demanding souls of all times and places to come to life. It is a Breath that fills the soul with that which emanates from the Holy, and will return there again as well.

God’s Love changes everything. It is a Spirit hovering over the waters as land and life spring into being. It is a child screaming in a manger, surrounded by lowly shepherds who have just experienced a light that pierced the darkness of the ages. It is a cross that beckons all that would divide us to a grave, and a rock rolled away that reveals all that can be new. It is a freedom that allows the seed planted within the soil to bloom, and the seed planted within our hearts to blossom. It is a faithfulness in humanity which never fades.

God’s Love changes everything. It is a cycle in which the Creation ebbs and flows from work to Sabbath, and also from life to death to resurrection. It is God’s Vision of Life lived in Communion, fulfilled through a beautiful gift of Grace which stretches far beyond anything we can ever comprehend. It is an invitation to baptismal waters, and to a sacramental meal which extends through all generations. It is a relational and interactive experience of the One who created us, and adores us as children. It is as glorious as a sunset, as miraculous as a rainbow, and as peaceful as a gentle rain. It is God’s Love – and this changes everything! Amen.

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

GRACE RESIDES HERE

The dry, tan prairie grasses stood tall on either side of the path, waving gently in the breeze. In the distance, a line of bare trees formed a natural barrier between the natural beauty of this place and the hustle of nearby suburbia. It was as if they had no intention of allowing their visitors to experience anything but peaceful quiet. A creek provided the only sounds, as water rushed by on the swift current. The sun beat down, an old but seemingly unfamiliar friend for a January day. Meanwhile, small clumps of snow defiantly sat here and there, trying to hold their ever-loosening grip over the landscape. On this particular afternoon, God’s creation seemed sleepy and silent.

Yet, I know that God’s mission is always to bring into being new life to receive the love of God’s heart, a love that is far too immense for the universe to hold. Lying calmly just below the soil upon which we walk are seeds patiently waiting for the order from God’s voice to arise. Somewhere in the grass is a small bird, watching our every move. In a few months, she and her brood will flutter around boldly – but today she is simply dreaming of what is to come. As we look around, we see nests awaiting their summer inhabitants and cocoons preparing to give birth. This is the creation as it enjoys its Sabbath, a time of rest until God’s command for action rings out. Soon enough, the hectic pace of life will return. Today, however, is not that day. For Sabbath is also a calling of God in our world, because Grace resides in moments such as these. And now I am reminded again that this is how God plants new seeds in my soul as well, some new creation that will itself spring to life in time at God’s beckoning. This is the beauty of existence as a child of the One who is ever creating anew. This is the calm of Sabbath before the storm of life. AMEN.

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

FISHING FOR PEOPLE

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

– In these words, Jesus teaches us that our life as his disciples is about the “other person” more than about ourselves. In following Christ, our life’s work becomes the well-being of all humanity, not our own personal salvation. The vision of the Gospel is perpetually an outward vision.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

GOD HAS A DREAM TONIGHT

A light snow falls on a cold winter’s night, and I find myself staring out a window deep in thought. My heart is again filled with wonder at the beauty of God’s handiwork, even as it is also heavy with concern for those whom I know need prayers, and for a world so far removed from God’s hopes. I so often pray for what it is that I want, and so seldom try to see what God wants. Yet, I know that somehow, in a way I cannot understand, God also has dreams on this night.

God has a dream tonight – that someday the lion and lamb can lie down together, that swords will be turned to ploughshares, and that peace will reign in power. God has a dream tonight – that someday we will all place love (of God and one another) as our greatest priority in all of life. God has a dream tonight – that someday we will all be united as one even as God and Christ are one in an indescribable union. God has a dream tonight – that someday we may cherish this remarkable creation as God does. God has a dream tonight – that someday all walls will be torn down and the meek and the strong shall be the same. God has a dream tonight – that someday we will actually live out the message of the Good Samaritan as a lifestyle. God has a dream tonight – that someday we will care enough to make God’s dreams into our dreams.

But on this very night we still live in a world where judgement, regardless of its ignorance, is lauded as a sign of strength, and difference is something to be feared. We still live in a world where the poor amongst us are mocked. We still live in a world where the powerful laugh in the face of the weak…and in the face of the God who promises one day the weak shall inherit the earth. Tears begin to well in my eyes at these thoughts. Just then I look outside again, to see the snow still falling. It is now reflecting enough to pour some measure of light into the otherwise darkness of night. I suspect the darkness cannot understand such a light. Instead this darkness only knows that when the light comes, it always finds itself truly powerless to stop such beautiful brightness. With this in mind, I simply proclaim “AMEN!”

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

GOD THE MASTER ARTIST

On a bright moon-filled night, drawn upon a blank canvass of newly-fallen snow, shadows provide a serene picture for my weary eyes. The design laid out before me provides a mirror image of the beautiful old tree standing quietly in deep slumber above. As the bare limbs wave gently in the wind, the portrait on the snow moves accordingly. I am tired, but far too fascinated at the display to simply walk away.

Morning brings with it another magical encounter with God’s creation. The cold is biting and fierce to me, but it playfully interacts with the rushing waters of the nearby river. Steam rises, floating effortlessly across the landscape as I watch from a distance. Oaks and Willows on the shoreline disappear and reemerge, again and again, as if they are children joyfully dancing amidst a thick and intriguing fog. The sight is as breathtaking as the cold air producing it.

Now, after two such experiences with God’s creation, I find a sense of wonder building within my heart, as I once again realize that there is a remarkable glory swirling around me daily if I would just stop to look. This is God’s artistry and creativity at work. These momentary glimpses remind me that God’s fingerprints are visible on every single object my senses explore. I am reminded that I do not live isolated from the simple movements of the Lord, for God is ever molding and crafting every little corner of creation, as a master artist does with the greatest work of their life. It really doesn’t matter who sees the intricacies, as long as the artist can stand back and admire the work of their own hands. This universe is God’s canvass, and I have been blessed to exist within this small piece of God’s creative genius. It is with this thought in mind that my weary eyes begin to shift into a wondrous smile. Thank you, my Lord, for once again showing me your brilliance. Amen.

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)