“Father, glorify your name.”
What glorifies God’s name: our obedience to God’s law? our suffering? our sinless lives? our joy in worship? our good intentions and willing spirits? our submission to sacrifice?
The Old Testament readings of this coming Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts seem to be unanimous in their answer: the heart is God’s glory, and the heart’s glory is God.
“I will write my law on their hearts,
and they shall all know me.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God.”
“With my whole heart I seek you.
In my heart, I treasure your word.”
The New Testament RCL readings reflect on the particularity of Christ bringing glory to God through the triumph over death (although if we’re not careful with the texts, we can believe and/or preach that we are mini-Christs meant to suffer & die for God’s glory rather than living wholeheartedly for God’s glory). The particularity of Christ glorifying God in John 12:20-33 is not an invitation to martyrdom but rather a reminder that faith is not entertainment; the festival crowds gather to gawk at Jesus, to be entertained & impressed but not to change their hearts (John 12:37). Likewise Hebrews 5:5-10 does not contend that everyone should glorify God by suffering in obedient silence, but instead points to Christ as the one who understands that we are called to lay our hearts bare:
“The word of God is living and active;
it is able to judge the thoughts
and intentions of the heart.”
To God be the glory, with all our hearts.
RevGals and Pals, how are you approaching this Sunday’s RCL texts in your sermon? What thread do you trace through the texts? Are you committed to a particular Lenten theme? Share your wondering & your ruminating, your questions & your ideas in the comments to encourage your colleagues toward Sunday’s sermon.
Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, blogger, and soccer mom. Her upcoming book, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith) with co-author Martha Spong, wrestles for God’s answers to the hard questions of life.
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