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An anthropologist once wrote an article on the cleansing rituals of the Nacirema tribes. They have elaborate holy places where they perform daily purification rituals, sometimes more than once a day! They are obsessed with sacred liquids and ointments for ablutions and often submit themselves to thorough inspection using instruments...

Holy One, as close as each heartbeat, show me the contents of my heart. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
March 12–18, 2018
Scripture Overview

We can maintain outward appearances for only so long. At some point what is in our hearts will come to the surface. God understands this, of course, which is the reason for the promise in Jeremiah. God promises a day when God’s law will no longer be an external standard that we are trying to follow, but will be written on our hearts. In the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba, David cries out in Psalm 51 for God’s forgiveness and a new heart. The New Testament readings begin to focus our minds toward the end of Jesus’ life. God’s transformative work comes at a cost to God through the death of his Son, who suffered in obedience but through his death was glorified.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Jeremiah 31:31-34. In what areas of your life do you find yourself keeping score? How can you release that tendency?
• Read Psalm 51:1-12. What clutters your heart, making it unavailable for love?
• Read Hebrews 5:5-10. When have you fallen into the habit of faith rather than exhibiting authentic faith? What distinction do you draw between the two?
• Read John 12:20-33. How does the author’s illustration of the seed and flower help you understand Jesus’ crucifixion and death?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Our resolve must be different. My prayer is that we have finally reached a tipping point. My hope is that when the protests fade and the marches slow that our will as a church to truly eradicate the scourge of racism won’t dissipate but grows even stronger.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.