Does your heart burn with God’s love?

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A Look Deeper By Brenda Frelsi
Sunday, June 26, 2022
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Shortly after the first Easter, two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were discussing the things that had happened in Jerusalem – Jesus’ crucifixion and the rumors of his resurrection. I imagine they were trying to make sense of it all, and were having trouble doing so. Eventually, Jesus joined them as they were walking and asked what they were discussing. They were shocked that Jesus didn’t know all about it – after all, everyone was talking about it! Jesus went on to teach them that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things so that he could enter into his glory. He explained to them what the prophets had predicted. Once they reached the village of Emmaus, they invited Jesus into their home for dinner and to stay with them. Jesus took the bread that was served, broke it, blessed it and gave it to them. At once they recognized Jesus, who then disappeared from their sight.

Then they asked themselves a wonderful question, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

As you worship God and listen to the reading of the scriptures, is your heart burning within you? What does it mean to worship God that fervently? How does this move us to love each other with the same intensity?

I tend to prefer to worship with other people. Singing hymns moves me and fills my heart. Praying together is powerful. Confessing sins together reminds me that none of us is perfect and we all need the forgiveness made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. As the one that preaches the sermon, my hope is that those that have heard go home and discuss it with each other, enlarging the learning. After all, the purpose of preaching a sermon is to open the scriptures for the people listening. I love it when the ‘opening’ continues after the sermon.

Sometimes, our hearts can burn with love for God when we are outside, especially when we are in beautiful places. Sunsets always fill me with the awareness of God’s love. We live near Makoshika, which is a wonderful place to be reminded of God’s creative power.

Looking into the eyes of a loved one is also a wonderful time to be moved by God’s love. God loves us so much that Jesus was sent to die for us so that we would not have to suffer the consequences of our sinfulness. Each and every person is special to God and is loved by God. Whether or not I like someone is inconsequential. To God, all of us are cherished just as much as everyone else. So I figure that if God can love everyone, my challenge is to do the same. When our hearts are burning with love for God, how can we not allow that to be reflected on our relationships here on earth. God loves people of every race, every nation, every socioeconomic level, every vocation, every political party. When our hearts are burning with God’s love, we look at each other through the eyes of Jesus, always seeing the best in each other and always being willing to forgive when necessary.

It is not easy. Our human nature causes us to want to draw lines, with the idea that those on our side of the line are better or more acceptable than those we figuratively place on the other side of the line. One of my favorite professors once said, “When we draw lines meant to keep sinners out, you can probably bet that Jesus is on the other side of the line with them.” Jesus reached out to sinners, ate with them, healed them, touched them, talked with them, listened to them. As his followers, I hope we can be examples to the world of reaching across traditional ‘lines’ to welcome the stranger with God’s burning love in our hearts.

Brenda Frelsi is the pastor at the Zion Luthern Church. She can be reached at pastorbrendaf@yshoo.com.

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