Our hearts are often like stone—hard and cold and seemingly impenetrable—the appearance of flesh is often only a thin veneer. We wall off and erect edifices around our hearts for protection; we build these walls as hedges from pain and responsibility and change.
Eventually we develop granite hearts—smooth and buffed to a high sheen. In the buffing the colors pop and the patterns emerge. Lovely, but oh, so cold. In our coldness we want to look good. We don’t want a crack on the surface to flaw the appearance. We want the world, the people on the outside, to see perfection.
Then comes God’s Spirit and trailing with him is the Word. And through the Word the Spirit confronts us. And we must make a choice. Do we remain this cold, beautiful slab of marble or do we surrender? We are afraid of surrender. We are afraid of losing control. And surrender means we willingly turn control over. As passive as I am I struggle with control. I grapple with different types: control of self, control of situations and control of others. Passivity does not guarantee surrender—not the real kind.
But if we get brave enough to surrender this slick plane to him then his Spirit brings his word and it falls like a hammer. Lifted over and over—slamming against the granite. And the granite begins to break. First, a weakening, then a fissure and then a split. The false veneer cracks. Two halves fall apart and create a cavern between revealing vulnerable flesh. And then, only then, are our hearts broken open—like Mary’s alabaster jar.
We must be broken to worship. You don’t need to be broken to sing praise songs on Sunday morning. No, but to worship in spirit and in truth* our stiff necks must be cracked against the edge of the door or the side of the table. Why? Only in the brokenness is the essence of nard released (Mt. 6:13).
Oh, but we resist. This seems a harsh method we cry. We want God to offer another option; we don’t want to be broken. We don’t want the surface of this granite to be marred. Just use the granite, God. It’s a beautiful surface. Please don’t break us—you are a God of love. How can love break anything? Please don’t allow others to see our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities. Please don’t require that of us.
But if we desire to give and live in honest worship then we must be broken.
I don’t want to be broken, God.
But I long to be like Mary’s alabaster jar. I long to abide in a place of worship.
So, let your hammer fall. Crack open this polished (which may not be as polished as I believe it to be--the heart is often deceived.) surface. Reveal the flesh underneath. I will trust you to deal with me gently. Break me and release the hidden nard.
Confront me with your Word and may the impact cause me to fall backward into your outstretched arms.