Keeping Our Hearts Open
Topic: Christ's Love & Power Scripture: Psalm 130–130, John 6:1–6:14
On the way to a miracle, Jesus heard the doubts of two disciples. Philip said, “We don’t have the money.” Andrew said, “We don’t have the food.” It’s impossible, Lord! A boy in the crowd offered what he had, and that opened the door to the power of God. Maybe the point of the story is to ask us, “Are we willing to offer what we have?” Even more, it asks us: Are we keeping our hearts open to possibilities; to the Spirit of God; to other people; to the needs around us. Last week we heard a prayer request giving thanks to somebody who stopped just in time to help. This week I heard another story from one of our church members.
She was on her bicycle, out in the country about 10 miles from Bloomington. Unable to get back to town, and stuck in the hot sun while she waited for her ride, she was amazed at the people who stopped to offer help and water. She received more help than she ever thought she would.
Recently, I got a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant.
The message inside said: “You will soon receive help from an unexpected source.” I liked that message. It helps us keep an open mind and an open heart. Instead of judging our situation, it enables us to believe, and to hope, and to trust. What we need will come to us. Well, I crumpled that message up and tossed it away. Who saves fortune cookie messages? The next day on my desk I found a message from a fortune cookie: You will soon receive help from an unexpected source. Same thing. Where did that come from? All I can figure is, I had gotten it in a previous cookie, and saved it, and then it surfaced on my desk. I suppose this raises the question, how many fortune cookies do I eat?
But I like the message. Stay open…your healing will come in a surprising way, God hasn’t forgotten about you, don’t get stuck in a negative place, you will have what you need. Then we can be more available to what’s all around us. For we live in a world of need and of cries for help.
Sometimes the need is obvious—although we don’t always know the best thing to do.
we sense there’s an issue, but we’re not sure what it is. How can we help?
We do know that Jesus calls us to feed the hungry and to help the homeless...
We are to care for all in danger...
And to bring healing wherever we can. Sometimes that healing is of the body as with this nebulizer for asthma,
and sometimes healing is of the spirit, and release from fear and anxiety.
And sometimes it’s a simple need for friendship and companionship and time enjoying nature...
We also know that a parent or mentor can make a big difference in a young person’s life.
Sometimes we’re called to respond when people are mean to others. Maybe we know someone who just needs a friend.
If we’re open, we might be the one person in another’s life who gives that person hope, by being there for him or her, or by meeting a need.
In the VBS “Shipwrecked” theme, we learn that Jesus saves lives, and sometimes uses us to reach out.
It can be a dramatic rescue at sea,
or A simple helping hand,
or a smiling, caring face,
or An emergency meal during a natural disaster.
More and more we realize, the whole world is ours to care for.
Mary Birmingham, an Australian horse whisperer, wrote, “I believe we as humans are meant to have a bond and a connection with all of life itself, and even our animals are trying to open our hearts to it.”
Don’t try this at home. But let it symbolize our openness to Gods world, our call not to destroy and exploit but to protect and nurture the world God has made.
So: Remember that day when Jesus stayed open to God, and many people were fed. Remember the disciples’ doubts, and the openness of a boy to share what he had. Think about that message, “You will soon receive help from an unexpected source.” See what it might mean for you.