If you’ve been a Christian long enough, it’s easy to get too much in your own head. I think I know the patterns of deathàresurrectionàascension, the paradoxes of suffering and joy, submission and freedom, law and gospel. I see these motifs play out in my own life, in the lives of those I care about, in the news, in my own travails and triumphs, in areas of discernment. They often form the basis of my hope and line my prayers with handholds that both fuel faith and chisel it.
But sometimes knowledge of the Scriptures, of the Stations of the Cross (literally and figuratively!), of the sweeping arc of the Christian story that reverberates in the lives of everyone who signs up to enter the Story, just paralyzes me. It’s like I begin to play mind games with God, or think I know His mind, so why bother asking and prostrating myself for the needs of the present?
Today’s readings remind us of God’s covenant with His people, a covenant that was and is and will be regardless of what we think or do. And in one Psalm we are told, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Hearts. Note that it is our hearts, not our minds, that need to stay soft, regardless of what reason and even good theological breeding is dictating. This speaks to the endless surprises of God, not surprises that betray His character but rather those that bend our lives to a will we somehow know is not fundamentally our own. But it may require a surrender of mental control, and an opening up to that lower, scarier place.
In what ways might you need to soften your heart to hear His voice and obey? Does this scare you? What would it be like to picture God waiting for you with an embrace and delighted eye? Can you catch the twinkle of His covenant assurance? Perhaps today is the day to lean in and entrust your heart to the holiness logic cannot explain.
Reflected by Anne Snyder