Sermon for September 26, 2021 Eighteenth after Pentecost “All your Mind”
In Hebrew, the heart (lev or levav) is the center of human thought and spiritual life. We tend to think that the heart refers mainly to our emotions, but in Hebrew it also refers to one’s mind and thoughts as well.
Many cultures assumed that the heart was the seat of intelligence, and without an advanced understanding of physiology, it makes sense. The heart is the only moving organ in the body, and strong emotions cause the heartbeat to race. When the heart stops beating, a person is dead. Because the Hebrews were a concrete people who used physical things to express abstract concepts, the heart was the metaphor of the mind and all mental and emotional activity. (Lois Tverberg)
Much has changed in our understanding of the separateness and connectedness of the human body, mind and spirit. We now better understand the mind and with all that there is so much that we do not know.
We do know that what we dwell on can become our reality. Sport stars know this all too well. They will visualize a shot, a move, a routine, a catch, a jump or a landing so that when the body is engaged it has already experienced what can happen.
More to the realm of prayer and meditation, there are countless studies that show when the mind is engaged in prayer, specific prayer, then the amazing can happen. When we set our mind on Jesus and God there becomes less room for other distracting and by times destructive thoughts and actions.
Perhaps that is why the ancient words of Moses are repeated by Jesus, that you must love the Lord your God with all your mind. When our mind is fully engaged in God and Jesus then it follows that we begin to align ourselves with the thoughts and actions of God. Which are all about love, justice, right relations and spirit filled wisdom.
What is challenging to explain about God and Jesus and the ask to ‘love God with all your mind’ is that it takes the experience to nudge belief. Our experience of Jesus is deeply personal, hard to explain and life transforming. I am talking here of our personal experience of Jesus. Not the ones that may have been forced by ones who had agendas for the shape of God’s love.
The teachers of wisdom paint a picture with words, they don’t force a preconceived agenda or outcome, that is for us and our journey. It is the pondering, wrestling and experiment with the teaching that we arrive where we are supposed to be…under the umbrella of God’s love and for me as revealed in Jesus.
The magnificent truth is that we are always beginning and ending this journey, always learning, always cleaning out the backpacks of our mind as we move ever so delightfully toward the realm of God. I will love God with all my mind is the beginning and the end and the end is the beginning. Faith is awesome eh!