February 15, 2010

hearts not garments

If you are a reader of Scripture, or even a regular worship attender, you've probably noticed that the regular way of showing grief in the Old Testament was to tear one's clothing. As God called the people of Israel back to obedience through the prophet Joel, the command to mourn their sinfulness was followed by a word that speaks a truth even for us, 21st century, non-cloth-tearing Americans.

Rend your hearts and not your clothing.

As Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Season of Lent, rapidly approaches, many people are pondering what they will give up; snacks, facebook, I've even seen someone list snow: Or what they will take on; prayer, Bible study, exercise, etc. While preachers have been known to question the motivation behind these practices, I'll suffice it to say, "rend your hearts and not your clothing." That is to say, outward changes might be good (and even healthy) but what matters is that we open our hearts to the very God who "hates nothing he has made and forgives the sins of those who are penitent."

So whatever you do (or don't do) this Lent, may it be a practice of rending your heart; opening yourself up to the living God who wants nothing more than to restore you and all of his Creation to right relationship.

1 comment:

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