Psalms 85:8, 10-14
“…I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
I always loved this statement—originally seen in Jeremiah. The words seem so poetic, so inviting to me. They speak of a new relationship with God—one not of complex and constraining external rules and doctrines, but based in mutuality and love. Can’t you hear it? Listen again—“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
But, what does it mean that God has put God’s laws into my mind, written them in my heart? God has written our relationship in my heart? What does that mean for my day-to-day life? How does it change the way I act?
The inscriptions on my heart push me—prod me—constantly—to respond to injustice, to speak for the voiceless, to use my gifts to work for justice and peace. When I say push, I mean PUSH—like a spark within my being, present from my early childhood. That spark first ignited when I was nine—and had the audacity to argue with my father about the rights of black high school students in Little Rock, Arkansas. From those days long past to today, I felt a profound sense of commitment and responsibility to those diminished and demeaned by others. And, many are the moments when I have experienced the alienation and conflict of seeing as few others see—and wished I could pretend I didn’t see the injustice. But, somehow…I could do no other.
And, yet the world continues…human inhumanity grows rather than diminishes. Sometimes, I despair that we humans will ever hear God calling us to the greater good. But somehow, I keep going…even though I know that I may make only a little difference, I cannot change the world. Still, I keep going…as do others, much more important than I.
This week we celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. I wonder about God’s inscriptions on his heart. He was faithful to God’s calling…and, yet, he too knew the frustration of falling short. In a sermon entitled, “Unfulfilled Dreams,” he had this to say,
“The struggle is always there. It gets discouraging sometimes. It gets very disenchanting sometimes. Some of us are trying to build a temple of peace. We speak out against war, we protest, but it seems that your head is going against a concrete wall. It seems to mean nothing. And so often as you set out to build the temple of peace you are left lonesome; you are left discouraged; you are left bewildered.Do you think Martin knew about God’s inscriptions in his heart? I do. And, through it all—he knew and we know that God goes this way with us. Thanks be to God.
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