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Hearts on Fire

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10)

Lent is HEART work. A 40-day time of honest vulnerability when we are called once again to bare our broken hearts before God, trusting in God’s healing and renewing activity in our lives.

By now, at the midway point of our journey to the cross, I suspect that some have discarded the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and sacrificial giving. The excitement of Ash Wednesday has faded, and “more pressing matters” now demand our immediate attention.

Repentance is demanding work. The spiritual practices that we had initially hoped would bring us closer to God may now seem like more of a burden than a blessing. As a result, we may find ourselves wanting to rush to the glory of the empty tomb instead of slowing things down as we prepare ourselves for the pain, suffering, and grief of Good Friday.

So, perhaps the time is ripe to honestly ask, “What have I discovered about myself this Lent that requires change?”

Perhaps we may want to rush through Lent because we know all too well that the valley of the shadow of death is a scary place to be. It is a destination that preoccupied and busy people try to avoid. During Lent, however, we are invited to see and experience the Holy Spirit’s activity among us — softening hardened hearts, turning us away from sin, and helping us to see God at work making all things new.

The Lenten journey of self-awareness and repentance can be terrifying for many of us. As a result, we may hesitate, give up, or resist the tug of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That is why now, especially when we are weary, to sit in the ashes of our grief, brokenness, and loss; realities of the human condition that we often ignore, run from, or compartmentalize.

And then, having identified that which seeks to separate from the love of God and neighbor, may we call upon God to help us trust in the gift of grace, the unconditional and unmerited grace at work in our lives. Breaking hearts that have hardened. Creating new and merciful hearts. Hearts, in the words of St. Isaak of Syria, “on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals … for all that exists.”

In Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Jon

Tags: Weekly Word