Support the Café
Search our site

Opening Heart

Opening Heart

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — Week of 5 Lent

Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 957)

Psalms (morning) 119:145-176 // 128, 129, 130 (evening)

Exodus 7:8-24

2 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:6

Mark 10:1-16

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

“And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 91)

That imaginative phrase comes from the first canticle assigned for Morning Prayer on Wednesdays in Lent. It comes from the Prayer of Manasseh, part of the Apocrypha.

The “heart” is a theme throughout today’s Office.

In Hebrew tradition the heart is the intersection of the human intellect and will. Marcus Borg argues convincingly in his book “The Heart of Christianity” that the heart is a metaphor for the inner self as a whole — “the self at a deep level, deeper than our perception, intellect, emotion, and volition. As the spiritual center of the total self, it affect all of these: our sight, thought, feelings, and will.” (p. 151)

Today our story from Exodus speaks of Pharaoh’s hardened heart. In 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks of the message and Spirit of Christ being written on our hearts, making us letters of the Spirit. In Mark, Jesus complains that the Mosaic law allowing a man to write a certificate of dismissal and thus divorce his wife was a commandment reflecting our hardness of heart, not the loving intention of God. And our Collect for this week asks that our hearts may be fixed upon God’s will, “where true joys are to be found.”

The Greek word for “hard hearted” is sklerokardia — sclerosis of the heart. It is so natural for our hearts to become hardened, closed. It is the natural result of our defensive protections as we grow up in an unreliable and threatening world. It is as if our selves become encased in a tough, “protective” shell. In its mild form, a closed heart is judgmentalism, insensitivity, self-centeredness, ordinary self-interest. In its severe form, hardness of heart is violence, brutality, arrogance, rapacious greed.

“And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart.” I want to have an open heart, a soft heart. Sometimes, in order for our hearts to be opened, the protective shell must be cracked, like an egg that must be broken open to release the life within.

It seems to me that opening our hearts and opening our eyes go together. When I am awake and observant, alive to the wonder and beauty of life, my heart is more alive. When I am in touch with a sense of gratitude, my heart is softer. When I am motivated primarily by compassion, my actions are more heartfelt.

Today, may I bend the knee of my heart, so that the Spirit may write upon it, softening and opening my heart that it may be fixed upon God where true joys are to be found.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café