Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where do you want your heart to be?

Today's sermon is based on Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Luke 12:32-40.

Where do you want your heart to be?
Take your time answering.
Where do you want your heart to be? Do you notice something in how Jesus puts this in the Gospel lesson today? Jesus does NOT say put your treasure where your heart is.
That would be too easy.
Instead, Jesus puts it the other way around: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
First put your treasure where you want your heart to go, and then your heart will follow.
Implicit in his statement is a call for a change of heart. Jesus nudges us to widen our heart. If you want your heart to be somewhere bigger, put your most cherished treasure there. Your heart will follow.
Where do you want your heart to be?
That, I would suggest, is the most important question facing all of us as fellow pilgrims sailing across the oceans and eddies of life.

Most of us, I would venture, have our heart in many places – with family and friends, with children or parents, and with people who are far away or gone from this life.
Maybe your heart is in your home, or in a job, or in something you really enjoy like a fine meal. Most of us have our hearts in good places.
But if you are like me, you might feel your heart sometimes divided between many places and many people. That can bring tension and even conflict.
Where do you want your heart to be? What is getting in the way? Where do you really want your heart to be? Put your treasure there.
And that begs another question: What is my treasure?
It is many things – it is your time and your talent and the fruit of your labor: your money and your possessions. Your treasure is the sum total of your life. Show me where you are putting your life, and I will know where your heart lives.
And that means how you spend your time is not just an issue of your calendar; it is a spiritual issue. What you do with your talent isn’t just a career issue; it is a spiritual issue. How you spend your money isn’t just a financial issue; it is a spiritual issue.
Let put this another way:
Think of your life as a prayer. What is it that you pray by the way you lead your life? Think of prayer as everything you say, everything you do, every dime you spend, every moment of your life. What is it that you pray by how you lead your life?

We often think of prayer as a special time set aside for reflection, meditation and worship on Sunday. And yes, our gathering on Sunday is the bedrock of our spiritual community.
But if we detach what we do on Sunday from the rest of our week, then our prayer on Sunday is really very meager.
All of us come here as individuals, uniquely loved by God for the person you are right now, and who you are in the act of becoming.
Yet we are also more than the sum our Sunday attendance. We gather as the people of God – that is the meaning of the word “church” – and by so doing, we join in an age-old covenant that proclaims that salvation will come to us as a people journeying together, supporting each other as we go.
That is what Paul is driving at when he proclaims: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
We find that strength with each other starting and ending with prayer. Put your treasure in your prayer, and your heart will follow.
This fall, I would like us to become more intentionally focused on prayer as a congregation. I would like us to explore our rich toolbox of prayer. We have much in our toolbox to work with. This fall we will launch a series of Sunday forums on prayer. We will look at traditional prayers from the prayer book, and we will go beyond to explore other ways of prayer. I will say more on that as autumn approaches.

All of us – every single one of us – can transform our hearts because every single one of us has treasure from God in abundance. God intends to leave no one behind.
So put the treasure of your prayer where you want your heart to be; put your treasure with the living Christ who walks among us and shows us a path to life and health and wholeness right here in this place. Amen.

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