During the month of January we will be observing Life Sunday on January 19th. In the Divine Service we will be following the theme "Matters of the Heart" from Lutherans for Life. This theme is based on of one of the Advent season readings from Isaiah 40:1-2, "Comfort,, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to [lit. speak to the heart of] Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
In the Christmas story from St. Luke we are told that when the shepherds came to the manger they made known what they had been told them about this Child and all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them. Not least of these was Mary herself. We are told that she was keeping within herself all these things (rhemata, which also has the meaning of "words that were spoken" or sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart. Like Mary we need a listening heart that takes to heart God's word for us. For Mary it all started in humble faith when she responded to God's message from the angel Gabriel, "Behold, the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to what you have said."
A quote from the "Matters of the Heart" bulletin insert is appropriate here. "We have things upside down if we think the Church should not speak to matters of the heart. And we have what it takes to do so - the powerful and positive heart-changing message of the Gospel! May we never withhold it from those who desperately need it spoken to their hearts."
Life Sunday 2015 • Matters of the Heart
They get labeled “political” and “social” and “moral.” But the reality is that the life issues are Matters of the Heart. They are spiritual issues that touch people’s hearts and souls. That is why the Church is compelled to address these issues because we have what it takes to speak to spiritual issues—the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The Gospel is the most powerful and positive life-affirming message in the universe. It is tailor made for Matters of the Heart. Our Life Sunday materials this year focus on increasing this understanding among God’s people and equipping us with resources and ideas for education and action in dealing with Matters of the Heart in our congregation and community.