By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
The symbol of Valentine’s Day is the red heart, symbolizing love, passion, and affection. Recently I was sent by a good friend Rod Ellis his book entitled ‘King of Hearts’. Rod comments in the book “Where is our heart?…It is my hope that we discover where our heart is by the true meaning of devotion and know a life filled with passion, power and purpose.”
Until something touches our heart, it has not reached the core of our being. Until the heart is engaged, little will change. As Nicky Gumbel of the Alpha Course puts it, our spouse will not be impressed, if after our being away, we merely shake their hand and say ‘I love you with my head’. Valentine’s Day is about the heart. Spirituality is about connecting the head with the heart, only eight inches away, yet what someone called the greatest distance in the universe.
When learning about the power of the Holy Spirit in the early 1970’s, I got it at a head level very quickly, but was more cautious at the heart level. It was not for another seven years in 1979 that I had a heart-felt encounter with the Holy Spirit. I remember in 1975 going to the Sign of the Fish bookstore on Lonsdale, devouring their books on the Holy Spirit and asking for prayer from the store owners. While touched at a deep level, I still had the brakes on. So I left that bookstore inspired but still stuck.
My Rector Ernie Eldridge became involved in a Renewal Mission/Festival of Faith with the Rev David Watson from York, England. I had no intention of going to it as I feared that they might be ‘swinging from the chandeliers’. Because I respected Ernie, I decided to go once, but to sit in the back of the church where I would be safe. To my surprise, David Watson was very sensible, down-to-earth, and even a little boring. This made me want to come back for the rest of the week. By Friday, I decided to give it another try, and went up for prayer. Not much seemed to happen, but on my way home, I was touched by the Holy Spirit on a deep heart level, and began praising in the Holy Spirit. My hardened heart opened up. My head and heart connected at a profound level.
For the past almost 42 years, I have been on a daily journey with the Holy Spirit. By having a daily time of prayer and bible reading, my intimacy is deepened. Only 10% of church goers have a daily quiet time in our busy, frantic culture. Our Bishop Silas Ng has been writing two online blogs to help people deepen their intimacy with our Lord.
The Good Book says that above all else, we are to guard our hearts, for everything flows from the heart. It also says that our hearts are deceitful. We are amazingly gifted at conning ourselves and believing our own press. That is why King David prayed: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.’ King David was known as a man after God’s heart. I want to be like King David, to have an open heart and an open mind to the Father’s heart of love.
For twenty-five years, St. Simon’s NV offered annual Renewal Missions bringing in top Renewal speakers from across North America and around the world. Renewal is about connecting our heart and head, about deepening intimacy with our maker and one another.
This Valentine’s Day, my prayer is that each of us may come out of hiding and share our heart with God and with those we care for.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
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