For then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. Matthew 5:45 (MSG)
A Homecoming – The Heart Of The Matter – Part 5
If we began with goodness, if our hearts were designed holy and sacred, then a homecoming is not out of the question.
For me, the Christian faith has become less about re-locating my heart and spirit, grabbing a get out of hell free card, emancipating myself form the human condition; and more about finding and healing and owning and becoming.
For the ancient Hebrews, the heart was the center of a person. Everything that a person did and was, came from the heart. Emotion, intelligence, wisdom, consciousness: all heart. When the Biblical writers talk about having a pure heart, it doesn’t mean a heart that behaves correctly and is without blemish, but rather that the heart knows itself, is self-aware, single-minded, and whole.
Cynthia Bourgeualt said:
“In wisdom teaching, purity means singleness and the proper translation of this Beatitude [Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matt 5:8] is, really, “Blessed are those whose heart is not divided” or “whose heart is a unified whole.” Jesus emerged from his baptism as the ihidaya, meaning the “single one” in Aramaic.” (1.)
The Biblical writers also speak of the false and stubborn heart; the heart distant from God. For them, a hypocrite was a person with a double or divided heart: where one would say “two-faced,” the Psalmist says “two-hearted” (Ps 12:2-4).
That’s why the heart can be called at one point deceitful, and at another, pure. Why Jesus could say that out of the heart flows both goodness and evil. Why Paul said that it is which our hearts that we believe and are justified.
At the heart of the matter is the heart itself.
And this is perhaps the best news of all: the heart is never beyond redemption.
Martin Luther King said: “A persistent civil war rages within all our lives.” (2.)
God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said:
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Eze 11:19 NIV).
John Philip Newell wrote:
“[Grace] is given not to make us something other than ourselves but to make us radically ourselves. Grace is given not to implant in us a foreign wisdom but to make us alive to the Bourgeault that was born with us in our mother’s womb. Grace is given not to lead us into another identity but to reconnect us to the beauty of our deepest identity. And grace is given not that we might find some exterior source of strength but that we might be established again in the deep inner security of our being and in learning to lose ourselves in love for one another to truly find ourselves.” (3).
What is The Good News, the Gospel, the Message that Jesus is and proclaimed?
The evil that lurks within and without does not and will not have the final say. A Kingdom is coming; it’s already here within us, where love has the run of the house. A homecoming is in order. Our hearts are not a problem to be solved, but a treasure to be healed. No matter what has befallen us or what we have engaged in, healing, as miraculous as it sounds, is the truest possibility.
Written by Lizzy Milani
1. Cynthia Bourgeault. The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008).
2. Excerpted from The Radical King by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited and Introduced by Dr. Cornel West. (Beacon Press, 2015).
3. John Philip Newell. The Christ of the Celts; The Healing of Creation. (Wild Goose Publications 2008).