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Speaking to the Soul: An Honest and Good Heart

Speaking to the Soul: An Honest and Good Heart

Week of Proper 22, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 140, 142 (morning) // 141, 143:1-11(12) (evening)

Micah 3:9-4:5

Acts 24:24-25:12

Luke 8:1-15

In spite of many churches’ admonitions to study our Bibles, today’s parable reminds us that hearing God’s word is useless if our hearts aren’t prepared to receive it. The parable describes a sower who scatters seed that lands on a path, on rock, among thorns, and in good soil. The seed represents “the word of God,” or God’s efforts to communicate with us. The good soil represents the only place where this word can take root, grow, and produce fruit: “in an honest and good heart.” Unless the word of God finds these hearts, it cannot thrive.

God’s word can only survive, and be nourished, and bear fruit if it lands in the right soil. In the same way, God’s word means nothing if it does not lodge in the right hearts. These hearts are soft and malleable, not compacted by habit into inflexible paths. These hearts are deep and grounded, not shallow and hardened like rocky terrain. These hearts are open and free, not “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life,” like thorny shrubs.

Throughout Christian history, the Bible, one form of “the word of God,” has been used to oppress and exclude others. But we can reduce much of that damage if we first seek to turn over and enrich the soil of our hearts, and only then sit down to hear God’s word. So, if we don’t get a chance to read the assigned Scriptures for today, let’s at least try to become the kind of people who would be good at reading them if we had the time. That effort alone may take us a long way toward living as God’s kingdom, with honest and good hearts.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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