Day 21 Lenten Reflection: Heart of the Matter

“The Heart of the Matter” Sylvia Lippmann

The Day’s Scripture

Joel 2:12-13

12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
    return to me with all your hearts,
        with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;
13 tear your hearts
        and not your clothing.
    Return to the Lord your God,
        for he is merciful and compassionate,
        very patient, full of faithful love,
            and ready to forgive.


The crux phrase in this small jewel of Scripture is “yet even now.”  You may think it’s too late; that you’ve seen too much; that you’ve lost your chance; that there’s no turning back—yet even now. Well, but  this is irreconcilable; the pattern is set; intimacy is laid bare; perfection is lost—yet even now.  Yet even now there is the possibility of return; there is the hope of mercy; there is the gift of compassion; you have time; you can be forgiven; faithfulness can be redeemed; relationships can be restored. You can be renewed, redeemed, restored and journey forward with new meaning, new purpose, a new call.

The heart of the matter is that in your journey there is always the opportunity for a homecoming.  The resurrection tells us . . . and, indeed, Sunday is comin’!  God is not asking for your best clothing or for your daily registry of external sacrifice.  He is initiating conversation with you—the you behind the chest-cave that His powerful index finger is thumping; the you who possesses will and volition and the furnace that compels choices and thermal dynamics.  You, you, you.  He wants to deal in soul cardiology.  Return with your hearts.  Tear your hearts.  Because God’s gifts—mercy, compassion, patience, faithful love, and forgiveness—are calibrated for matters of the heart.

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