This will be the back page for the bulletin of Fishkill UMC on Sunday, July 15, 2018 (8th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
Every time someone asks me where I come from, I tend to ask, respectfully, “what year?” As the son of an Air Force officer growing up in the 50s and 60s, I tended to move around a lot. In fact, the longest that I have ever lived in one place has been these past 19 years in New York.
One result of all this travel was that I attended 10 different schools. And because I attended so many different schools in so many different settings, I saw things that conflicted with what I was being taught.
It’s not that hard when you hear people sing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world” and then see them profess support for segregation and the hatred of others. As you may recall, from what I said a couple of weeks ago (“Generations”), because of these conflicts, I began to question “the powers that be.” It also becomes very easy to see where one’s heart lies.
Herod very much wanted the people of Israel to like him as their king. He initiated the rebuilding of the Temple and other massive public construction projects, all designed to win the hearts and minds of the Israelites. But when John the Baptizer publicly rebuked him for his marriage, his heart began to harden, and it became quite easy to accept the request of his daughter and order the execution of the Baptizer. His mind was there but his heart wasn’t, and the people knew where he was coming from.
And even though Paul had an academic background and phrased much of his arguments for accepting Christ from that background, you knew that he spoke from the heart as much as he spoke with his mind.
We live at a time when we must deal with many of the matters as much with our hearts as with our minds. And the response of too many people shows that Christ may be on their lips but is not in their heart. Is Christ in your heart?