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The Identity of Our Hearts

Encounter: Listen to Mark 10:1-31 by clicking here (stop listening at 4:08). Before you begin, take a moment to take a few deep breaths. As you exhale, say a simple breath prayer, “Holy Spirit.” This exercise helps us to slow our racing minds and centers us on being attentive to how God seeks to encounter us holistically - body, mind, and spirit.

The latest Star Wars TV series, Andor, follows the life of Cassian Andor, who was first seen as one of the heroes who helped keep the plans for the Death Star out of the hands of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movie Rogue One, which itself ends right at the beginning of George Lucas’s original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. A “rough-around the edges” loner who makes a living off of stealing from the evil Empire, Cassian Andor is like a modern rendition of Robin Hood.

A friend and I were recently texting back and forth about the plot of this new TV series and how absolutely ridiculous the plan for stealing from the Empire seems. Basically, Cassian Andor shows up on the scene of a very small band of Rebels just three days before the Rebels’ biggest move to infiltrate an imperial base to subvert their oppressive system. It’s not a surprise that nearly all the Rebels in this small camp don’t trust Cassian since he shows up last minute and seems to have a large amount of knowledge about various aspects of the Empire. My friend put it this way, “I’d have said, ‘ehhhh, we don’t all seem to be on the same page and no one seems to have much trust. This seems like a recipe for disaster, so I’m going to sit this one out.’”

But if you know Star Wars, you know that this fits exactly in line with almost all the stories about the Rebels; all the pieces just seem too disconnected and any chance of victory or survival seems just out of reach. It’s in that void between the pieces that one word seems to have the power to draw the pieces in: hope. Hope is what keeps the hearts of the Rebels in the fight even when there seems to be no way out.

In Hebrews 11, we see a direct correlation between hope and faith. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

In her novel, Candle in the Darkness, Lynn Austin writes, “Faith don’t come in a bushel basket, Missy. It come one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He’s so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands.”

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes, my hopes are pretty big. I dream of an ideal situation about one thing or another so much so that those hopes simply seem out of reach. What happens, then, is I become disillusioned about my hopes and dreams and discredit the small positive things that happen in life just because they don’t measure up to the fullness of my hopes and dreams. Surely something has gone awry in God’s intention of placing hope within us when we let it become a source of discontent rather than encouragement!

This Sunday, we will be exploring the role of our hearts in the formation of our identity based on our faith and hope in Christ alone.

Exploring with you,

Pastor Matt

Reflect: How did the breathing exercise help you to slow down and delineate your time in the Word from other tasks you have done today? When you think about the word “hope,” what comes to mind? How does hope affect you?

Encourage: Next time you are with friends or family, ask about their hopes. You may learn something new about someone you’ve known for a long time.

Gather: What were the three topics within Mark 10:1-31? What did Jesus say about the Kingdom of God? What do you make of Jesus’s closing remarks about giving up house, siblings, parents, children, and property?

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