If you are very quiet, it is said, you can hear your own heartbeat. Perhaps by God’s grace, during a quiet moment you have realized that your heart is beating in the same rhythm as God’s own heart. You have been drawn close and rest securely in God’s great love for you.
For just that moment, you are aware that you really do love God with your whole heart and trust God with your whole being. For you in that moment, there are no other gods.
But there may be other times when you slow down and become quiet only to realize that your heart is out of sync with God’s. Instead of coming closer to God, your heart is pulled in other directions. Someone or something else entices you to another rhythm, and when your heart embraces it, you have taken on another god.
“That to which your heart clings,” Martin Luther wrote, “is really your god.” Does this interpretation of the first commandment hit close to home?
To live our baptismal life is to learn to name those other gods, to confess our idolatry, to know we are forgiven, and to begin anew in God’s grace.
Today we remember Philip and James, apostles. The May 2015 issue of Gather magazine includes an article by Mark Allan Powell about Philip and James. This message was adapted from “What Your Heart Clings To” written by E. Louise Williams that first appeared in the January/February 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.