Flesh and Stone

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Mark 11:27-33

I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 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.

Isaiah 38:24-26

A heart of stone can be whittled away by water over time, pounded into dust with a sledgehammer, and melted in a volcano. It can crumble into sand or split into brittle layers. Stones are great for building walls, but not for sustaining human life. There is no heartbeat in a stone, no growth.

A heart of flesh takes in the joys and pains of this world. It can expand to include others, and can contract if hurt. It moves blood through the body. Sometimes the heart loves so well that it will give up its own life for the life of another. Tears and laughter reside here.

A heart of flesh is aways connected to God, always connected to God’s beloved creatures and God’s expanding universe. It feels agony and joy and everything in between. A heart of flesh plants us in this world and draws us into God’s embrace at the same time. God gives us a heart of flesh whenever we permit it, as individuals and as the whole human family.

We’ve also been given God’s heart – wrapped in swaddling clothes, walking on water, multiplying loaves and fish, dying and rising. Jesus, Emmanuel, God’s heart with us.

Come, Heart of God, come.

Offered on December 6, 2014.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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