Friday, March 27, 2009

Hard Hearted?


Joseph Fee Sculpture

Jeremiah 31: 33-34
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."


Imagine for a moment a world where no one would have to say the words: Know the Lord. These words would not longer necessary not due to them being made numb by the insistence, but by the heart-deep restoration of humanities relationship with God. In some ways, this world wide reconciliation reminds me of the words of the Lord's prayer - "Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

On planning my children's message for this coming Sunday, I was impressed with this image of a heart tender and mold able by a reconciled relationship with God. If my heart was so flexible to the movement of God through his word and the Holy Spirit, what would my world be? Would I be content with things as they were, or would I be more proactive to the needs of my neighborhood and community as they came to the surface.

According to some research, I rediscovered some insights on Jeremiah's text in it's original context:

"Heart" in our culture has many associations it didn't in the biblical world. There, the heart was not understood to be the "the opposite of the head," nor the center of emotion (that was the intestines), and not even of "love"; rather, the heart was thought to be the center of intellect and values — the bottom line of the approach to God, the world, and everyone and everything in it that drives all our actions and decisions. From this instruction comes these questions (perhaps on a screen): "What's really in my heart?" "Do I want to be where Jesus goes?" "How can my heart become like yours, Lord?"
(Planning helps)

Here are some additional thoughts on the new covenant being made in the heart of humankind:

A new covenant, not in stone, but in flesh, in the hearts of the people . . . So Jeremiah envisions God's new initiative to deliver the exiles in Babylon, not just from captivity, but from their own waywardness. A covenant simply "external," on stone, has been too easy to break. God wants to cut this new covenant elsewhere: in their hearts.
(Planning helps)

What God is working in the hearts of humanity is an overarching shift of heart and relationship with him. The change God requires is no longer satisfied by a stone memorial. God desires a changing and living faith that is ultimately full filled in the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus. The impact is both human and divine. When God is working in our hearts, there should be a holistic connection: mind, body, heart, and spirit. All aspects of our lives should be impacted by God's sculpting hands.

Prayer:


God, be the potter of my human clay. Mold and make the change you need to see. Make the alterations you need to see, made your picture of beauty and living breathing work of art for you and the world to benefit from and see.

Lord you need a heart alive to see and love a life unique to your influence;
one that is different than what I usually am content to be.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

Gonna be hummin' that all morning, now....