On Ash Wednesday we will here God speak through the prophet Joel:
“ … and rend your hearts …
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…”
Joel 2:13 (ESV)
So, what does it mean to “rend” our hearts? Those experiencing a heavy loss or extreme grief in the Old Testament would “rend” their garments – tear them apart, usually at the center of the chest – revealing their heart. To “rend” your heart, then, is to expose the inner most part of your being – to open up – and thus allow God to do His work in your life.
This is how we are to RETURN to the LORD – with a heart open to receive his steadfast love.
Psalm 51:7 (ESV) states it this way…
“ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
During this period of Lent in March, bring your broken and contrite heart. RETURN to the LORD, and receive the blessings of His grace and mercy, share in His abounding and steadfast love, those gifts given in the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for your sins.
Let the Cross of Christ “mend the rend” of your heart! And be blessed to share such blessings with others.
Pastor Jim Kirschenmann