Psalm 51:10

Thursday, February 23
Michael Costello

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
 and put a new and right spirit within me.

A friend of mine told me about a dream they had several years ago in which they purchased a new heart on the illegal market for an ailing family member. As odd as this dream might sound, the image is one worth thinking about as we pray part of Psalm 51, the appointed Psalm for Ash Wednesday: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” In earlier verses of the Psalm the psalmist also prays to God: “Have mercy on me,” “Wash me,” and “Purge me.” There is a recognition on the part of the psalmist that sin and evil are things from which one must be purified. This is the truth we speak of during the season of Lent: We need a new heart.

The market for a new heart has a new economic reality; there is only the gift of new life in Christ, the one who gave himself up to death on a cross for us and for our salvation. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial love for each of us we need not wonder where and how to find a clean heart for ourselves. Through our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection our sin is forgiven, and our hearts have been fashioned anew as a free and undeserved gift from God. This new heart we have been given cannot be purchased; it has been won for us by Christ’s death, once and for all.

Trusting that God is doing a good work in us even now, we are empowered to share the gift of his new life with others. We do this by how we show up in the world, offering ourselves in service to our neighbor and treating those with whom we live and work with compassion. Ultimately, as Christ’s body, we are called to love as he first loved us—by showing mercy, even to the point of laying down our lives for the sake of those in need.

Almighty God, create in us new and honest hearts, that we may bear witness to the love you have given us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

1 Comment

  1. Sandra Schuette says:

    Thank you! I needed this message this morning. The NEW HEART! Thank you Jesus, that will be in my morning prayers. Actually it is already as i always start my morning with Create in me a new heart but somehow your devotion gave it new meaning to me!


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