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Hearts Undivided

July 18, 2020

“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.” Psalm 85:11

We lost two teachers yesterday. John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian both died on Friday, leaving behind a legacy of justice through their work for equality during the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Lewis liked to encourage people to get into “good trouble” in the struggle for equality, words to which he bore witness through nonviolent, but very persistent, resistance.

Lewis taught us (in this tweet from June 2018, for example) to hope: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The psalmist calls upon God to provide teaching and an undivided heart. This, specifically, in the midst of insolent ruffians who seek the psalmist’s life. This psalm, which we will use in part during worship tomorrow, alternates between plea and praise. This is emblematic of the life of faith, the prayer that alternates between “Save me, Jesus!” and “Thank you, Jesus!”

May we learn from God, and from the teachers God has sent, that deliverance is never far off. We can trust the steadfastness of God as we enter the struggle for peace and justice. We begin by acknowledging the struggle within our own divided hearts, calling upon God to gift us with new hearts. God has done this in Christ. You, heart and all, have died with Christ upon the cross. You live now with a new heart. May your heart beat with joy for the sake of its Creator, and may you live out the teachings you have learned.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Lord, you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Create in us new hearts. Give us ears to hear and hands to act. Give us good courage to listen to and enact your teaching for the sake of this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Lyle kids walking the way, in this case on our recent vacation.

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