‘A Matter of the Heart’

Published 12:53 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

This weekend, our community hosts thousands of neighbors and visitors with our “Heart of Virginia Festival.” We look forward to the annual collection of booths and the variety of culinary tastes and musical sounds that swell our town.

In a similar way, in Jesus’ day, the Jewish people would gather in Jerusalem for an early harvest festival called Pentecost. It was an ancient tradition of celebrating the first-fruits of the earth. It was also a time to remember God giving the Law to Moses. It was a recognition of what God has given, and the ways we are blessed.

In the New Testament story in the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was present on the street as thousands of people’s lives were changed. The disciples of Jesus, recalling his teachings, death and resurrection, shared in a way that each person heard and was touched to the heart. They returned home full of amazement at what God had done. They fanned out into the world with eyes and ears opened for the presence and activity of God.

I wonder what we will see of God in our midst this weekend. I do not wonder if God will be among us. I do not wonder if God will be reaching out to transform lives. God has already demonstrated both. I wonder if we will have the eyes-of-the-heart to notice.

I remember one Christian writer contemplating the faces of those around him. He found that how he viewed them through the lens of his heart made a difference. With each one walking past, he reminded himself: this is a person, who, whether they know it or not, is created and cherished by God.

I wonder if we will have the heart to engage people around us this weekend in a similar way. Beyond whatever economic benefit they bring to the day, what do we discover in the face of each one? God made each one of us. In each encounter, may we see the gift and blessing that is each person. Let us know God’s grace and show God’s grace to each one.

Let us meet each person with gladness and generosity. Let this be the heart of who we are.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. His email address is mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.