St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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A Note from Pastor Melissa-July 4, 2024

Posted on July 3, 2024 at 3:00 pm in .

Happy Independence Day, St. Lukers!

I pray that you are enjoying a much-needed day with friends and family. The themes we talk about on this holiday each year are important ones to our faith as well – freedom, liberty, the quest for a just and equitable society. As we celebrate our freedom as a country, it’s appropriate that we begin a worship series that actually invites us to consider who God made us to be, individually, and how we use our free will to nurture that identity.

This Sunday, we begin a new worship series: “Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength: Loving Yourself so you can Love Your Neighbor.” In addition to scripture, we’ll be using the book Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength by April Yamasaki as a guide. Reading along each week will replace our usual weekly podcasts (those will return this fall!) as a way for you to prepare your hearts for worship each week.

We’ll be looking at what self-care looks like for us as followers of Jesus’ way, and what those four parts of ourselves have to do with our spiritual life.

It’s a chance to look at how we’re exercising our free will and capacities for caring for ourselves, or instead allowing the stressors of our environment, culture, news cycle, work, life – everything! – to shape our way of leading our lives.

This week, we’ll start with “Heart.” Did you know that the concept of the “heart” that we have as part of our core identity comes from a time when scholars actually believed the heart was the center of our whole biological selves, that it controlled all bodily functions, including feelings and thoughts? It was the center of all of our moral and intellectual life, the center of reason and knowledge.

We now know that the human body is far more complex, and that many of those functions live more in our brain, but the concept of the “heart” as center of being has stuck with us. “Follow your heart,” they say. “What do you feel, deep down in your heart?” And when we hear those things, we know exactly what they mean.

It’s about knowing the deepest parts of who God made us to be – the gifts and passions, the callings and convictions. So this week, we’ll start our conversation about self-care by looking at how the beginning of caring for ourselves is knowing ourselves. And sometimes, it takes a community or trusted friend to be able to see the fullness of who we are, so that we can care for ourselves in a way that allows the fullest capacities of our being and callings to shine in a way that reveals the kingdom.

I wonder what your heart is feeling right now. How can you prepare yourself to go on a journey of self-discovery that leads to self-care over the next few weeks? I look forward to beginning this journey with you this Sunday at 9:30 or 10:00 for worship! See you there!

Pastor Melissa

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