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Rend Our Hearts

12 Yet even now, says the LORD,

return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

13 rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the LORD, your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,

and relents from punishing.

(Joel 2:12–13)

Rend Our Hearts

Good Day Family,

There’s a prayer I sometimes pray, “Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours.” It’s normally in response to the troubles of the world…when I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the brokenness of creation and human creatures. Those are the prayers from my heart, when my heart is broken, and I know that God’s heart has been broken over and over. It’s not that I want everyone to experience the pain of heartbreak just because I am suffering. It’s that I hope that if our hearts are aligned with God, we might make a change.

As the Lenten season commences, we may be inclined to engage in spiritual disciplines. Fasting, silence, meditation, prayer, and acts of service (among others) are means of drawing nearer to God, disconnecting from distractions, and demonstrating our faithfulness. These actions done consistently and intentionally over the weeks leading to Holy Week hold the potential to change us individually and communally. They can also be engaged in a wasteful manner when done performatively rather than transformatively.

I’ve heard it said that Ash Wednesday is the day when you can tell a Christian just by looking at them. Presumably, the mark on our foreheads, ashes formed into the sign of the cross, signal our identity. But if following Jesus hasn’t written the message of good news on our hearts, why bother? Why mock God with performance and false signaling? Why go through the motions when we resist the movement toward the ultimate destination.

May we rend our hearts. Let our hearts be torn open and broken by the pain of the world, our communities, and our neighbors. The break is necessary for repair. The rending leads to mending. We can be healed, restored, and made whole. It begins when we rend our hearts.

From the heart,

Be well,

Pastor Cheryl

Let us encourage one another. Let us love our neighbor. Let us be the church.

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