Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~Genesis 1:26-27
I will never forget the moment that modern technology allowed me to hear that tiny new heart beating inside me for the first time. It was racing way faster than my own heartbeat, but regular and strong, giving me confidence that this newly conceived life was off to a healthy start. All of this at six weeks! Before anyone else knew my daughter was alive, I did. I had a real life growing inside of me. What a responsibility! Now, everything I did, I did for two.
The heart we grow up with began with God; it belongs to both of us. All that we do to, for and with our body, affects this heart which is both God’s and mine. That which is done to us affects it, too. God knew this before we were born. God knew that we would need an organ to circulate our life blood and that it would have to work hard, sometimes persevere against resistance and, above all, it would need a regular rhythm. There in our chest is the first sign of our life and an indicator of our health. The heart is an organ so sensitive that its heart-shaped symbol represents Valentine’s day love.
It is hard to conceive of love so great and so constant, but God gave us a perfect reminder in our own beating heart.
In thanks for your hard-working heart, try this:
- Sit or lie still and put your hand over your heart. “Listen” through your hand to the sound of God’s presence, beating in your depths. Give thanks for this constant presence and evidence of God’s constancy in your life.
- Remain still and count the rhythmic beats of your heart for one minute. This, your resting heart rate, is the pace designed by God to serve your circulatory needs at rest.
- As your body allows, perform an activity that increases your heart rate. Climb the stairs, go for a walk or jog, or try a few simple calisthenics. After activity, count the beats again.
- Imagine the life-giving work your heart is doing at rest and also in action. Give thanks to God for the heart beating in you which is both rhythmic and responsive.
Reflect and Respond
- How do you think God felt at the sound of your first heart beat?
- What does the beating of your heart say about the image of God created in you?
- What does the speeding and slowing of your heart show you about your Creator?
Creator God, how you formed the heart in me and started it beating is a mystery I may never fully understand, but its pulse is dutiful and constant. Remind me that it is a strong and sure sign of your presence with me through everything I do and in everything I need. Amen.