Scripture Reading — Mark 12:28-34
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . and with all your mind . . . ." Mark 12:30 —
Some people have said there are 12 inches between heaven and hell-the distance from the head to the heart. In other words, as Jonathan Edwards put it, "Where there is light without heat, such as a head stored with notions and speculations but having a cold and unaffected heart, there can be nothing divine in that light. He who has only doctrinal knowledge and theory, without affection, is never engaged in the goodness of faith."
Edwards also wrote, "True religion, in large part, consists of holy affections." As we look at a number of statements by Edwards this month, we may find some of his words unfamiliar and hard to understand. For example, what does he mean by "affections"? His own definition is this: "The affections are the more vigorous and practical exercises of the inclination and will of the soul." In other words, "holy affections" are the things we think, say, and do when our hearts are filled with the love of God and in tune with the mind of Christ.
Think of the way God "affects" our lives. We are "affected" by having a deeply personal relationship with God. We learn to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength-and to love our neighbors as ourselves. God changes us to live more and more like Jesus, our Savior, the supreme object of our "affections"-joy, desire, respect, awe, love, gratitude, and more.
"More love to thee, O Christ . . . . Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee. This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to thee . . . more love to thee!" In your name, Amen.