North Highland United Methodist Church
Monday, May 17, 2021
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

February 2014

For centuries, the center of emotion was truly believed to be in the heart—and though science has taught us otherwise, the shape (even found on ancient ruins and coins) continues to communicate love and emotion. So since it’s the Heart Association’s heart month, and heart logos and paraphernalia abound, let’s think about heart.
How many times have you or others spoken of readings, music or recitations we know “by heart”—we barely concentrate, and the words come to us. There was a time in the life of the church when memorizing was not only encouraged but required—and while there may not be as much of an emphasis on that style of learning, it isn’t all bad is it? Yet, even if it is not a requirement, hearing something enough times can lead it to become forever a part of us. Obviously this can be both good and not-so-go od, helpful or unhelpful, but that’s not where I’m headed with this.
Can you come up with a favorite scripture that has become a part of your life—words that come to mind with little prompting? Some might be: Psalm 23, Micah 6:8, John 3:16, The Lord’s Prayer and others. These and many are those we know by heart. Being of various generations and denominational beginnings, we have learned them in a variety of translations. So that brings up another question—have you ever read your “favorites” in another translation? Doing so can open up new or surprising thoughts and responses to a favorite scripture, prayer or reading. Words and vernacular change with generations, new scholarship occurs, and our lives and experiences change. It is good to open our hearts and minds to other possibilities of what we call the living Word by reading various translations, all while holding those first words close to our hearts.
A good example is the prayer we say nearly every Sunday. In the words of Jesus, the Lord’s Prayer was a WAY to pray, not necessarily a specific prayer to be said, yet we have come to love those words of scripture as both a ritual and meaningful prayer. What about taking some time to look at the different scriptural accounts and translations of those words? Three versions appear in the United Methodist Hymnal beginning with #894. For example we will find differences with the words sin, trespasses and debts. Then, read the words of the prayer directly from scripture: Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6:9-13 in various translations. (On you can find them all). Which words speak to you in new or clear ways? Which words do you think are best understood by the youngest among us? Which words really go to our “hearts” and help us to realize this is really and truly a prayer, not habitual words?
Ahhh, yes, the heart and things we know by heart—how wonderful and how individual they are. But let’s not stop with what we first learned—how about taking some time to re-read and see where those ancient words take our hearts today. May all aspect of the understandings for heart be good, healthy and meaningful to you especially this month!
Pastor Lou