Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
We're always more comfortable with what is tangible and concrete. Somehow if there are borders, results, materiality, it feels real. It's easy to talk about which ball team might win the World Series, or about our vacation at the beach, or how many people were killed in an earthquake. We even try to deal with our unseen, borderless souls in the same way. We talk about the rules of religion, the number of hours we pray, the theology of good and evil, the requirements for living a holy life. We've been taught to think that we please God with such palpable practices. It may come as a surprise to learn that the doing of spiritual practices is not for the benefit of a demanding God, but rather for our own benefit. Playing by the religious rules, praying ourselves into peace, trying to understand the ways of God through theology, and practicing the holy life actually prepares us to 'rend' our hearts. Lest that seem too strong, consider the root meaning of rend--cranny. To rend our hearts means to create a cranny within them where the presence and power of God can move. God's longing is to slip into those crannies in our hearts. Perhaps that's why we would prefer to stick to rules and theology, or complain about rules and theology. As long as we stay focused on what is tangible and palpable, we can avoid coming face-to-face with a God who wants to claim our heart. But imagine for a moment the freedom you would feel if you were released from the idea that wholeness and acceptance were tied to spiritual or moral perfection. Imagine needing only to open your heart.
O God, I try to stay far from you by opening my mind and keeping my heart closed. Break open my heart and move in me until we walk as one.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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