View from the Vicar

Recently a friend of mine had a serious heart attack. They had just finished playing squash and were very fortunate that the staff at the leisure centre knew CPR. Thankfully he is now making a very good recovery and should be back to full fitness before too long. The more scary thing for me, is that I know this friend through a weekly circuits class, where I plod around a sports hall desperately trying to maintain some fitness while he powers round with ease. He is definitely fitter than I will ever be and yet due to a blockage his heart stopped.

His experience probably caused me to click on the link which I saw on the BBC website to connect to an article about the NHS 'heart checker'. A few minutes later, after some quite personal questions, the survey had given my suggested heart age and life expectancy. Fortunately it was not too distant from its actual age!

Now I'm sure you're starting to think couldn’t the vicar think of something jollier to write for the South Leigh newsletter than a medical report and what on earth has his heart health got to do with church?

This recent experience not only got me thinking about the physical health of my heart but it also got my thinking about the spiritual health (did you spot the seamless link?) The bible speaks of the heart over 700 times. It is seen as the core of a person, that guides their character and life. When choosing David to become King of Israel the prophet Samuel is impressed by the appearance and height of David's older brother Eliab and it says, "Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord.'"

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him." The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

So much of today's society is about outward appearance, with so many seeking to ensure that their Instagram or Facebook profile picture is just right, but what about what's going on inside.

In Luke's gospel Jesus said,
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

My friend's experience has caused me to think again about the physical health of my heart, but it’s also reminded me to stop and think about the spiritual health of my heart. What am I creating inside of me that will effect how I live my life and treat others? As we move into a new season perhaps you would like to spend some time thinking about your spiritual health and if there is anything we at St James can do to help you then please do ask.

May you know God's peace and blessing at this time.

Simon Kirby, Vicar of St James South Leigh & St Mary’s Cogges
September 2018