As I mentioned in my last post, I was studying Isaiah 61 for a mid-week prayer service. There is no sermon, but rather interactive guided meditations (I guess that is what you call them). I thought I would post the outcome of my reflections from two days ago. Part of the meditation calls for a candy heart that I slice in two. I used the Haribo hearts from the Starmix (for Americans: I have never seen these in the US. They are similar to what gummy bears are made of) and cut them in half before. The binding was sports adhesive tape that didn’t work terribly well (and was blue). A doctor in my church told me to go to the chemist to get some other kind of tape, but I can’t remember the name at the moment. I will likely change this if I use it again, and may shorten it to use for a prayer station. If anyone likes it, feel free to adapt (and please share with me – I am always looking to make it better)!
Isaiah paints a picture of upheaval. For the Israelites, they looked longingly for the day when they would again be free. They had the stories of God releasing them from slavery in Egypt. They learned the stories of King David and how God blessed him and their ancestors. Now they looked for God to overturn their exile. They wanted the powerful oppressors to be brought down and their chains to be taken off. They wanted their broken lives to be made whole again.
Of the images in the passage, listen to this one again: God will bind up the brokenhearted. God wants to take this broken people he called out of Egypt and make them whole again. God wants to do the same for us. Christmas is the time for gift-giving, and God gives himself to us in Jesus. Jesus comes to show us how much God loves us. He wants to mend our brokenhearts.
In front of you are some bits of broken hearts. Pick up two pieces and place them together. Imagine for a moment that this is your heart.
How do you feel your heart is broken right now? Do you feel lonely? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel as if God is not even there? How is your heart broken right now? Hold the heart in your hand, and tell God how you feel.
Now, pick up a piece of adhesive tape and use it to bind the pieces back together. As you do, imagine God reaching down to you to bind up your broken heart.
When you have finished, lay your heart down at the manger.
If you know of someone whose heart is breaking, pick up another heart, pray for them as you give them to God and he binds their heart as you bind the candy heart.
Dear Jesus, our hearts are broken. They are shattered into more than just two pieces, and they are not fixed with adhesive bandages. Nothing we can do can bind the pieces together again. We give the broken pieces to you: bind our hearts, proclaim your favour on us, provide for us who mourn, dress us bright colours to remove the grey ash we have on, tell us what about us makes you smile so that we may not buckle under the weight of criticism. Restore us to the glory you intended so that people may say of us, ‘God has greatly blessed them.’ Let us be living witnesses of your glory so that others may know of you. In your name, Amen.