Untie Your Soul – By Larry C. Williams
I sat on the back pew of our colonial-style seminary chapel and heard a sermon by Samuel H. Miller that I have never forgotten. I don’t remember much of the content, but I do remember the picture he painted of a woman’s brown high-top shoes. She stared longingly at the sea, waiting for her husband to return safely. The image of those high-top shoes, representing to me the common life and faithful love, has stuck in my mind and soul for fifty-nine years.
As a pastor, near the end of my sermon preparation, I would go to The Great Realities to see what Samuel Miller had to say about my subject. Often there would be a quote that was just right. Sometimes he deepened what I was trying to say. At still other times, to my chagrin, he took me in an entirely different direction.
Twelve years ago, I began a project of putting together excerpts from his first three books—The Life of the Soul (1951), The Life of the Church (1953), and The Great Realities (1955)—that I hoped would become a collection of spiritual meditations. It all began one day as I was reading from The Great Realities and thought to myself that almost every paragraph was loaded with meaning. I felt the need to lift nuggets out and make them available for people who had read Miller in the past and had forgotten his books. And I felt the need to bring forth this deep, honest spirituality for those who had never heard of Samuel Miller.
Samuel Miller has deepened and broadened my ways of thinking, believing, and loving. He has shown me vistas and led me to depths that I didn’t know existed. He has helped me discover “treasures in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7, RSV). He has taken me to the great abyss, at the edge of life and death, and given me a glimpse of the eternal that still brings tears to my eyes. In short, he has become my spiritual guide.
Larry C. Williams
Larry C. Williams has served as pastor of two congregations in North Carolina: First Baptist Church of Dobson and Louisburg Baptist Church. He was Campus Minister at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.—and was Director of The Pastor as Spiritual Guide Program sponsored by the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C. For a number of years, he has served as a Spiritual Director. Larry and his wife, Zelma, enjoy living in Louisburg, N.C., near their two daughters and families. He is an avid Boston Red Sox fan.