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File:Heart-shaped stone.JPG

Day 16: Monday in the Third Week of Lent

Ezekiel 36:26

A new heart I will give you,
….and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
….and give you a heart of flesh.

Cold hearts. Broken hearts. Big hearts. Lonely hearts. Aching hearts. Cruel hearts. Pure of heart. Mean spirited. Gentle spirit. We use these words to speak about the shape of a person’s life. The complex of values, ideas, and feelings that shapes our beliefs, choices, and actions.

The problem is our hearts are fickle, too easily preoccupied with ourselves or swept along by the voices around us. If we listen to anger, we become angry. If we listen to bitterness we become bitter. If we listen to fear, we become fearful. If we listen to selfishness we become selfish.

There is a reason the author of Colossians writes: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (3:16), or that Jesus says: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

There is a reason the psalm writer sings: “I treasure your word in my heart” (119:11), and describes God’s words as “sweeter than honey” (119:103), and a source of light (119:105, 130) or that Deuteronomy exhorts us “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart” (6:6-9). We need to be careful about the voices that shape us.

Our hearts are fickle, tossed to and fro,” and though we pray with David, Create in me a clean heart, O God,” the truth is we need new hearts, living, beating hearts that beat in rhythm to God’s own heartbeat. We need new spirits that breath in harmony with the breath of God.

And this is the promise of baptism:

A new heart I will give you,
….and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
….and give you a heart of flesh.

Be still my heart.

Gracious God,
in the waters of baptism you anointed us with your Holy Spirit.
Stir up within us your Spirit
and lead us this day in paths that are holy and true.

– A prayer for the third week of Lent

(For the reflection on this week’s theme: Baptism & the Holy Spirit”)

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Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHeart-shaped_stone.JPG By Sylda31 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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