A Courageous Heart {a hillside sermon}

Blessings on the pure in heart. {Jesus}

As any person who’s ever known the wrenching pain of love-gone-bad will tell you, it’s a dangerous thing to give your heart away. Perhaps this is why many of us never actually do. We have crushes. We play the field. We even say I do and set up house. But do we truly give our heart away? Do we even know our heart well enough to have the first clue about handing it to another?

The same with friendship. We share parts of ourselves, but do we share our true selves? Do any of our friendships cross that deep water, wading past the shallow water we know – the water we’re comfortable with – and on into the swift currents where we’re at risk. At risk of being hurt, for sure. But also at risk of being loved.

To the Jewish mind, the heart is the core of a person. It is where we feel things, where we will things, where we know things. It’s our gut. It’s all the me that makes me me. The real me, past the facade. And Jesus peers into that place, the place where our sorrow can not hide, the place where our longings are most acute, the place where (if we have the courage to peer) we discover what we most want and what we most fear.

And when we give this true heart over to God, without reservation (purely), we find ourselves in a most vulnerable place. We are exposed. We’ve ceded control. What will come of us now?

What will come of us is blessing. Jesus, the one always ready to bless, tells us that we can rest in the promise that we will not be left to flap in the wind. Our heart will be cared for, more than we can imagine.  “In the Beatitudes,” says Frederick Bruner, “Jesus seems to bless people at their center, where they are most themselves.” It requires courage to give our heart to God (and to others, which is often the same thing as giving your heart to God), but we can have courage because Jesus sees our heart. And smiles, blessing us as quickly as we can receive.

image: kevinzim

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