For from within, out of the hearts of people, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries……pride and foolishness. Mark 7 : 21 &22
Take a Moment to Ponder
One of the things that we should appreciate about the Liturgy in the Anglican Church, is that it calls upon us to examine the state of the human heart. In the same manner that we must monitor the physiological factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, that will impact the proper functioning of the human heart, so must we keep an eye on the emotional and spiritual things that can impact not only our hearts, and by extension our bodies, but, because we are social beings, it impacts the community, whatever may be its size. People ask in the light of all that is happening in the world and in our families, what is the Church doing? An important part of what we are called to do is to examine the condition of our heart and in the proclamation of the Gospel, wherever we get the chance to invite persons to do the same. As the readings/lectionary for Ash Wednesday, annually remind us, one must not only carry out the right actions but, it must be done with the right motive. Generally, when the phrase, ” the affairs of the heart” is used, it is seen in a romantic context, but, what we have seen being played out in the governance of many countries across the world, is also an affair of the heart, because coming out of the heart are things of which our text speaks. If we are to achieve our destiny as human beings to imitate God, then our hearts must have the Fruit of the Spirit growing within it. This is our constant prayer when we worship.
The call on a weekly and daily basis to examine the condition of our heart is a call to assess our integrity as well. How well do we stand up to doing the right thing whether no one is watching or if everyone is doing something else. Remember change and better still transformation begins with the individual.
Do we have the courage in our sphere of influence, to challenges persons to pursue the values embodied by the Fruit of the Spirit. Those values may seem outdated in our materialistic and individualistic world, but, the truth is without them, humanity descends to the works of the flesh typified mostly by greed and envy, which leads to crime and violence.
Transformation is the work of us all. Our prayers for the people invites us to pray for our political leaders and in doing so, invites us to stand in their position and look at the task they must accomplish. They will need our help, so let each of us advocate for one transformative area for this year.
A Moment in Prayer
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name. Grant us the courage to invite others to do the same and in so doing, lead by example as we seek to transform our nation, through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen
Contributed by Canon Michael Allen