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Archive for July 25th, 2021

A Right Heart

MEDITATION:

Written by Timothy Keller, a contemporary pastor, author, and speaker. This is an excerpt from his book “Generous Justice.”

Justice is not just one more thing that needs to be added to the people’s portfolio of religious behavior. A lack of justice is a sign that the worshippers’ hearts are not right with God at all, that their prayers and all their religious observance are just filled with self and pride. In Isaiah 29:21, when the people are charged with “depriving the innocent of justice,” God’s conclusion is that “these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Jesus’ criticism of the religious leaders in Mark 12 was identical…Behind their excessive religious observances are lives that are insensitive to the vulnerable classes. In Jesus’ view, this revealed that they did not know God or his grace at all…Jesus taught that a lack of concern for the poor is not a minor lapse but reveals that something is seriously wrong with one’s spiritual compass, the heart…Biblical scholar Joel Green explains it this way: “The disposition of one’s possessions signifies the disposition of one’s heart.” The purification of the heart through grace and love for the poor are a piece; they go together in the theology of Jesus.

PRAYER:

From the United Church of Christ Book of Worship.

Pray for those who are hungry. Pray harder for those who will not feed them.

Pray for those who struggle each week to pay their bills. Pray harder for the wealthy who do not care.

Pray for those who are homeless. Pray harder for those who deny them shelter.

Pray for the sick and lonely. Pray harder for those who will not give them comfort.

Pray for those who cry out for dignity. Pray harder for those who will not listen.

Pray for those oppressed by unjust wages. Pray harder for those who exploit them.

Pray for those who bear the yoke of prejudice. Pray harder for those who discriminate against them.

Pray for those whose basic needs are denied. Pray harder for public officials who cater to the greedy and ignore those bound unjustly. Amen.

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