GA2011 Devotional – Saturday

Posted: July 9, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Deut. 6:6 

When I was little girl in Sunday School at First Christian Church in Bloomington, IN, we were often encouraged to learn certain Bible verses “by heart.”  I remember learning Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, and even the text from a few Bible story books “by heart.” I had friends that spoke of inviting Jesus into their hearts and knew that God could speak to my heart. My favorite hymn, Be Thou My Vision alludes to  God as “heart of my own heart.” Moreover, this heart language isn’t just limited to church.  I also learned my multiplication tables and James Whitcomb Riley’s poem Little Orphant Annie “by heart.” And when I arrived in Lexington, KY for college, I learned that one could “bless your heart” as well as having experiences that touched my heart.  And when my grandmother died, I learned that the people you lose do indeed live on in your hearts.

So when I hear Moses telling the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:1-12 that God commands them to love the Lord with all their hearts and to keep these words in their hearts, I feel as though I know exactly what God means.  It doesn’t seem to be only about memories or pieces of text you can recite at will, but rather about truths which frame your life, giving meaning to human experience.

Having left Egypt and kept wandering in the desert for 40 years, the Israelites were finally on the brink of entering the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey where God intended them to flourish for generations.  The excitement must have been palpable, with relief so very near.  And yet in this frenzied state, God takes time out to remind Israel that they owe their lives to God, that they are God’s people from whom God expects something both very easy and extraordinarily hard.  God expects them to keep God’s presence in their hearts, to hear God’s wishes as if they were their own.  God expects Israel to let God shape its communal life. After all isn’t that what happens when something becomes ingrained into your heart? It becomes a part of your very being, giving birth to new meaning again and again.

And doesn’t that strike you as something very Disciples’? That rather than assume we know what God’s words mean, what God intends, we let the scripture continue to shape-shift, continue to form new meaning within us as our lives get longer? And despite our modern sensibilities, aren’t we in the end merely Israelites anticipating the Promised Land, continually writing God’s commandments upon our hearts?

Submitted by Heather Godsey

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s