Pentecost, Tuesday, Year C

Inspired by Ezekiel 11:14-25

“I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them.  Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”  Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NRSV)

Have you ever done something that benefited yourself and hurt another person in the process?  Have you ever been cruel or heartless, acting out of your own pain and not caring who else might be injured by your words or actions?  Have you ever thought about what you’ve done and felt shame, wondering how God could ever love a person as undeserving as you?

All of us have done things to hurt other people, either intentionally or thoughtlessly.  And most of us have felt some shame over our actions, and felt unworthy of all the love and sacrifice God has given for us.  Perhaps we tried to put some distance between us and God, believing that we had to somehow ‘improve’ ourselves before we could present ourselves to him and ask for his love.

Such distance is not necessary.  God knows our struggles, knows what we are capable of, and knows our limitations.  We don’t have to become perfect in order to deserve his love; we are incapable of such perfection.  He loves us because he chooses to, and that’s before we do anything, good or bad, loving or cruel.

Seek him out in prayer; look for his acts of love in the world.  You don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love; he already loves you.  Let him replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh.  He will enable you to discern and obey his will.  He is your God, and you are his beloved child.

Let us pray.  Merciful Lord, you are grieved by the sins we commit against each other and against you.  Give us new hearts, that we may recognize each other as your beloved children, and act with the love and grace that you have shown to us.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.