Category Archives: Christ
A dear friend received a new heart today. Literally
Not a Valentine’s Day heart. Not a sappy, sentimental heart-shaped gift. Neither construction paper cut-out nor “heart”-shaped facsimile, the heart he received was an organ. A life-saving, life-giving organ. This heart is a living, pumping cardiac-muscle of a heart. Sewn into the opening left when they extracted his old heart that wasn’t working well, really it was failing, not strong enough to pump life support to his body that was still young and strong and virile.
Yes, today God replaced his old heart of (nearly) stone with a heart of flesh, and it is beating in his chest right now. Receiving blood, pumping blood, delivering blood continuously, obediently, constantly to all the places in his body that were desperate for it.
Just twenty-four hours ago, this heart was perfectly happy to beat in someone else’s chest. To receive, pump and deliver blood there. What of this? What of these? What of him?
Why must someone die so another might live?
I cannot fathom this. Cannot explain this. Certainly cannot condone this. Yet.
Yet, one man of old did just such a thing. Died, giving Himself up for us. This is my body, for you. This is my blood, for you. This, I will give you. This is what you need. This will give you life.
Day by day, we’re offered a new heart, signed by God. A heart offered without price, save what was paid on the cross.
There for us when we need it. Before we know we need it.
This is no Valentine’s cut-out and no slobbering sentimentality. This is God’s own heart, work horse of our effort, unsung hero of our inner workings, grinding out our days supplying the lifeforce of our very being.
Day in and day out.
Awake and Asleep.
Conscious and unconscious.
So reliable, we don’t even remember it in our prayers.
So trustworthy, we don’t even think to question its methods.
So diligent, we don’t even begin to doubt its lastingness.
Yet, sometimes when we cry out for a new heart, God complies. Our heart of stone is replaced by a heart of flesh, rock of ages past, usurped by flesh and blood. Gift given. Gift received.
And in gratitude, we pray: May the heart of Christ fill the space left behind. May the soul of Christ occupy this void. May the mind of Christ show the way to this generous spirit whose life ended too soon and yet. And yet.
There is life. And in its name, in His name, we rejoice.
The whole world comes alive when the sun rises. One by one, two by two they emerge from east, from west, from every way and every other way, whole flocks together as if a heavenly call has gone out and they're heeding its message. Is it the rays, the light, the glimmer that bids them come? the oranges, reds, the magenta that dazzles and displays? or something else I can't see, can't hear, can't comprehend? Is there a knowing I don't know? A joke I'm not in on? Ashore, I stand mired...heavy...earthen. the only unflighted one of morning. Astonished at their soaring, gliding, joyful shouting, "Here I am!" "Coming!" "Wait for me!" Guzzling the good, good news of morning. What a glorious day has come and is coming when we, weighted and terribly terrestrial loosen our ties and shed the lashing pinning our wings. And, with the rest, come alive in the new day.
There was a blind beggar sitting by the roadside, or so the story goes, when Jesus and his disciples were passing by on their way out of Jericho. Of course, the blind man did not know who was passing by, only that there was a commotion. But when he heard that the stir was about Jesus of Nazareth he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Perhaps it was the plaintiveness of this man’s voice or the sincerity and desperation in his tone that got Jesus’ attention. Or maybe it was the man’s perseverance and increasing volume as he shouted to be heard that gave Jesus pause. Possibly it was simply the potential and possibility Jesus saw in the life of this man that inclined Jesus to ask that the man be called upon.
The story leaves no doubt about the delight that filled that moment. Throwing his cloak aside the man jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“I want to see.”
The circumstances in our world and particularly in our nation today, leave no doubt that I am that blind man. I’m that beggar. I am Bartimaeus, son of the unclean. Lord, have mercy on me.
Help me to see where my place of privilege has kept me in the dark. Show me where my teaching has been sparse and my learning was filtered and faulty. Hear my pleading, my sincerity and my determination to come face to face with the truth — a truth I have seen but not recognized, a truth I have heard but not responded to, a truth so ugly I have turned away from it in disgust and disbelief, even as it has been shared by trustworthy friends.
Today it is clear that the truth doesn’t disappear just because it remains unacknowledged. Truth stands its ground, waiting to speak. It waits for us to address and set aside the falsehoods, biases and preconceived notions which currently cloud our vision. It waits patiently for each of us to respond to the question Jesus asks: what do you want me to do for you?
I want to see.
Lord, heal these eyes and expand my vision. Grant me the courage to look at what’s hard to see and to listen to what’s hard to hear, so I can walk closely with you and with those who bear the weight of injustices leveled by me and by those like me.
Lord, have mercy, as we learn to walk by faith into new sight.