S (Scripture): Psalm 51
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
O (Observation): David confesses to God that out of all of the earthly riches he holds…none of that can be as pleasing to the Lord as David’s own broken and contrite heart – a heart broken by David’s own wrongdoing.
I don’t think God wants brokenness, but in this psalm, we see that the divine mystery encourages us to approach God not with position or power…but with an empty heart.
“Contrite” means “feeling or expressing remorse or penitence; affected by guilt.”
A (Application): Lutherans talk a lot about guilt. And rightly so.
We don’t dare come to God with our “good deeds,” lest we start to think that our ways are good. Now, that sounds pretty morbid…I know. But the point here is that while we do indeed do good things, and we can celebrate them, when we come to God, we come with broken hearts, for God alone is good.
Living out God’s grace and mercy are good things. We are called to show God’s love to our neighbor, and do good deeds, for “faith without works is dead.”
But what do we bring to God? What is pleasing to God? Is a heart full of pride something God wishes? I think not.
Here is a story from a recent Richard Rohr daily email that is helpful:
An old story goes like this: A proud young man was being interviewed by a potential master. He bragged about his understandings of life and philosophies. The master listens silently and begins to pour a cup of tea. He pours and pours, and when the cup is overflowing he keeps right on pouring. Eventually the student notices what’s going on and interrupts his monologue to say, “Stop pouring! The cup is full.”
The teacher says, “Yes, and so are you. How can I possibly teach you?”
The same holds true for our hearts. Full of pride, we have no need for God. Instead, let us empty our hearts in humility and brokenness and seeks God this day to fill our hearts once more with grace and mercy.
P (Prayer): Lord, may you fill my broken heart this day. Amen.