“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27 NKJV
Over the past two years the word “heart” has taken on significant symbolism for me. In my vocation of Sacred Support the logo sprung from my imagination as two hearts connecting with a tag line to reflect the guiding principals of listening with our hearts. Plus many of the readings, sermons and lectures including one my husband and I attended in Austin, with keynote speaker John Philip Newell, have been focusing around the heart of our natures as faithful, yet sometimes fearful Christians and human beings just trying to get along.
Whether all of these messages were truly centered on this subject – well, I’m not sure. More likely I have been seeking, searching, recognizing and pulling heart from these many and varied sources as part of a greater synchronicity to bolster my own self-selected spiritual journey.
The topic however is not new to me. It reaches way back, as far back as April 1987 in a dream that carried me through the aisle of a cathedral and into the narthex where my attention was drawn by a focused light to read two lines from a very old opened book; the second of which was: “You shall know the heart of your kingdom.”
Over the years I have embraced this dream and statement as a significant guidepost even as its meaning was not clear then and still remains partly veiled today. But with this more recent resurgence and reoccurrence of theme, I’ve paid particular attention to the many references and new ideas of what the heart of my kingdom might look like, the kind of heart that God might want me to have, and asking: how do “I” change my heart in ways to practice God’s principles in thought (judgments) and deeds (actions)?
So coming to these two verses today I am struck with the relevance and power of God’s Word in a general way, but also with an intimacy that comes from feeling tugged and greeted over the years. It seems once again God is reminding me that it is not “I” that can change – by sheer will power or self-control I fall short of changing a heart of stone (hardened, inflexible, fear-based). It is by the love and intervention of God that all the natural characteristics of a human heart, be it broken or discouraged, are made whole and restored to its organic nature of love and service – where ideals are mirrored by authentic caring and action. Where I am able to walk the talk.
These passages also remind me that sometimes, even in my unworthiness, God reaches into my very flesh in ways that open up all kinds of gentle possibilities. And in this grace, my heart is changed by inches towards the heart of His kingdom.
I know these verses probably have a much greater relevance than my myopic, thematic search as they fall in the Old Testament and in context of generational power struggles in the mountains of Israel. But I relate to them today as what was at once made possible in the flash of a heartbeat when God first shared His son with us. With Christ as the new heart and spirit for today, in this age and generation, imagine what we can do as humans here on earth! One, or two hearts, at a time.