Glencairn Methodist Church
The human heart - the actual physical heart - is a wonderful organ. Powered by electricity and fed by nutrients in the blood, it beats somewhere in the region of 2 billion times in a lifetime. It speeds up when we exercise and our muscles need more oxygen, and it slows down when we sleep. Unfortunately, as with all bits of the body, things can go wrong. Valves might cease to work properly, the small arteries that feed the heart can get clogged up with stuff, and the electrical wiring can get upset and cause the heart to beat in an irregular fashion.
And when something goes wrong with the heart, invariably something goes wrong elsewhere in the body. An irregular heart beat may lead to blood clotting within the heart and then these clots being sent out into the lungs, brain and elsewhere causing great harm and even death. Clogged coronary arteries can cause heart failure and rapid death.
Modern medical science is developing therapies that can alleviate some of these problems - drugs can prevent the clots forming, other drugs can to some extent control the heart rhythm and help clear blockages, and surgery can replace the little arteries when they fail to work Technology is also available and useful. I know a man, as St Paul might have said (let the reader understand), who suffered from a chronic arrhythmia. His cardiologist suggested that he should have a small defibrillator implanted, which would give the heart a shock should it get too far out of kilter. This is a marvellous device and has saved many lives. One "downer" is that the patient is not allowed to drive a car for a while, which is understandable! Also some of the heart regulatory drugs have side effects like cold feet. Still it is better to be alive and to have cold feet and some restriction on travel than the alternative!
This month contains St Valentine's Day (14th) when greetings cards decorated with red hearts are much to the fore. Yes, the human heart - the metaphorical, emotional one - is also important to a healthy life. If this heart goes wrong, then bad things can follow. Jesus tells us that it is from the heart that anger, hatred and other sinful thoughts come, and these thoughts are just as bad as the physical acts of murder, theft, and so on. The prophet Jeremiah once said that a time would come when God would write all his laws in human hearts and because their hearts were transformed, then so too would be their actions and hence their whole lives. Jesus came to announce "the Kingdom of God" and through his teaching and example showed that this kingdom is in our hearts. When we give our hearts to Jesus then he will bring us into his Kingdom. It may be some time before we eradicate all the bad stuff, but it WILL happen. We need to persevere and pray.
And remember on 14th those who love you and whom you love!
11th February 2014
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm