Pastor Beth's Message Blog

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Rev.  Beth Harbaugh

Connecting - August 2022


Living Out of Our Hearts through Creative Tension in Our Christian Lives


Each Sunday during or after church in August, we will share snacks or potluck or coffee, whatever you want to bring to share. There will always be fresh bread and peanut butter ... and jelly of course. If people want to, we can enter into discussion about what the Word and the messages of the day are. I am hoping that we will have some fun food and drink and sharing of ideas and personal God stories after church as we simply have fun together. I would love to hear your thoughts!

I will be preaching from the lectionary during August, and will be using author Marcus Borgs book, The Heart of Christianity, to bring out some of the wonderful basic understandings of Christianity that have been rediscovered by passionate believers today.

In our August worship services, we will be hearing God's Living Word on the matters of the Heart. Can we just stick to the Heart of Worship? What is this heart? Is it faith? Is it Christian works? These have been questions for the church for 2000 years! Do we gain a relationship and ultimately salvation with God through our faith or through our actions out of our faith? Do our works and actions affect our lives or is it just our beliefs? I will also lift up related stories or issues as we bring the Living Word. The Holy Spirit will remain in this ongoing conversation with us.

The modern church is in a state of creative tension seeking to enliven its understanding of what is central to, or at the heart of, Christianity. This tension is being played out in both church and governmental politics. In the lectionary text for August 7 that comes from Isaiah, he is trying to name what is at the heart of worship, too. Is it music? Does it come from the pulpit? Is it authenticity? What is it that is deeper than both intellect and heartfelt action? Maybe it is the connection of all of the above.

Most people understand that when we have integrity or wholeness by matching up what we say with how we are living that out in our lives, it gives us a sense of spiritual wholeness, rightness, centeredness, and even peace.

Human beings crave this integrated sense-ability with depth that comes when our beliefs and actions come together. But it is not just integrity is it? It is the right kind of integrity. It is belief that has been tested with action. Our hearts demand that there also be a test of love. Compassion and human experience create their own moral authority that goes beyond any written word in these times. And yet, we do come to trust the Bible and even other intellectual pursuits if we are brave enough to look and listen deeply and to integrate them with human experience. God seems to truly write this law of love on our hearts with carnal, flesh-in-the-game authenticity. This only comes with life lived, and often, if not always, with some pain or grief.

Somehow, our hearts become a litmus test for deep learning and truth. This learning becomes transformational and moves us to places of relationship and eventually Oneness in Christ that we can't imagine until we get there. I hope you will come on this journey with us in August and encourage you to share your learnings with us as well.

In our shared hearts of Christianity,

Rev. Beth