February. Red valentine hearts decorate every window, and heart-shaped boxes of candy fill the shelves at the supermarket. They’re everywhere!
Do all those red hearts represent that faithfully pumping muscle in the middle of your chest, or do they stand for the tender emotions? Or both at once? That’s an ancient connection–people have been saying “heart” and meaning “emotion” since scriptural times. Even Jesus did it.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, in verse 1 and again in verse 27, Jesus says to the disciples (that’s us!), “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He’s comforting his disciples and telling us not to worry, but to trust in God and to trust in him. He says it twice, so we know he means it!
Do you think Jesus, who loved to heal the sick, would mind if we extended his comforting words to cover not only our metaphorical hearts, but our physical hearts as well? Do you think Jesus would want our physical hearts–our cardiac organs–to be as untroubled as our spiritual hearts?
And that leads me to heart health. February is American Heart Month, starting off with National Wear Red Day to promote women’s heart health on February 2. How’s your cardiac condition? Ask your parish nurse or regular doctor about the updated blood pressure guidelines and whether you should do anything about them. And give heartfelt thanks for all the dedicated people who have taken Jesus’ words to heart–and are working to keep our hearts untroubled.
Women of the ELCA has a special initiative, Raising Up Health Women & Girls, to address that very topic. See Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls for more information. You can give online at welca.org/donate/RaisingUpHealthyWomenandGirls, or you can give by check. Simply make out your check to Women of the ELCA and write “Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls” on the memo line.
Audrey Novak Riley is director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA. (Photo by Jess Watters from Pexels)
Mail your check to:
Women of the ELCA
Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield VA 22116-8009