Dear Congregation and Friends!
Can a heart have a direction? Can a heart change direction? Does a heart need someone to direct it? Perhaps, to answer these questions, let’s ask first: Which way is your heart facing right now? What are the things, ideas, hopes, dreams, people, your heart is focussed on at this time? A multitude of different things, surely. I know for me that is the case. I have many things I feel my heart being drawn to, many ideas, hopes and also fears that I spend a lot of time and energy on and if these weren’t there my heart would be in despair – and yet I also realise that none of them is able to give my heart peace and rest.
Martin Luther formulated the problem like this: “Worauf Du dein Herz hängst, das ist in Wahrheit dein Gott“. “What you hang your heart upon, that is indeed your god.” And John Calvin said that the human heart is a god-factory – creating idols all the time.
So indeed, our hearts need direction, need to change direction and someone to direct them. Because left to ourselves we’ll end up having hearts for all the things that usurp God’s place. Good things as they may be, they are not meant to be what our hearts are hung upon – because God has created us to be loved by God, to be the beloved of God so that we can have something to form the basis of our lives – something that isn’t unstable and insecure, something that doesn’t constantly change and confuse our hearts. The “steadfastness of Christ” is this fixed point, the “love of God” is the foundation that will hold, that will not disintegrate when all about us falls apart.
It has been another difficult year and our hopes are surely directed towards a new year that will be better, more normal, and hopefully more manageable than these two pandemic years that we’ve been through. But we do not know – there seem to be signs that “normal” will not return. So I want us to hear the watchword for November 2021 as an invitation to allow God’s love to become the focus of our hearts and the steadfastness of Christ the ground upon which we live – these are the real constants that our faith provides – the message that in spite of everything else going wrong the love of God will not abandon us and foundation of Christ’s steadfast mercy will endure. May this be your experience as you come to the end of this year.
Greetings in Christ, Felix Meylahn