It’s been one of those Mondays – aching a bit as the weather changes but the real disturbance is to focus and then narrow on what I want to say today. Thankfully, there are too many good thoughts and choices rather than the opposite – too few. Providentially, (which you’ll understand in a few minutes) I read a random Hasidic tale. It goes like this “A disciple asks the rebbe, “Why does Torah tell us to ‘place these words upon your hearts’? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?” The rebbe answers, “It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.” The telling of this tale is attributed to philosopher and writer Jacob Needleman and is included in the article “The Politics of the Brokenhearted” by Parker Palmer. It is published as the “Prelude” in Palmer’s book “Healing the Heart of Democracy”. (This is the providential part. Beginning next Tuesday, February 9th at 7:00 p.m. Rev. Dr Kathleen Weller will begin a 7 week zoom book study on “Healing the Heart of Democracy.” If you are interested in participating send your email address to: email@example.com to receive the invitation information to the Zoom meeting.)
Palmer writes: “There are at least two ways to picture a broken heart, using heart in its original meaning not merely as the seat of the emotions but as the core of our sense of self. The conventional image, of course, is that of a heart broken by unbearable tension into a thousand shards—shards that sometimes become shrapnel aimed at the source of our pain. Every day, untold numbers of people try to ‘pick up the pieces,’ some of them taking grim satisfaction in the way the heart’s explosion has injured their enemies. Here the broken heart is an unresolved wound that we too often inflict on others.
But there is another way to visualize what a broken heart might mean. Imagine that small, clenched fist of a heart ‘broken open’ into largeness of life, into greater capacity to hold one’s own and the world’s pain and joy. This, too, happens every day. Who among us has not seen evidence, in our own or other people’s lives, that compassion and grace can be the fruits of great suffering? Here heartbreak becomes a source of healing, enlarging our empathy and extending our ability to reach out.”
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:2
“You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.”
How are you known by others?
What Gospel words do you need to hear today?
How are your reaching out to others?
Prayer: Holy God, let your words flow over me and let me be a healing presence. Amen.
To view previous readings click HERE