“Soften the hearts”

July 4, 2007

Barbecue on fireThis one’s in honor of the 4th of July; we’ll be going to our friends’ barbecue shortly. Uh, hopefully the flames will not rise as high as in this picture.

Luke 1:13-17 lectio: soften the hearts of parents to their children. It’s been way too long since we read The Message as a family. We had started reading Luke some time ago, but then our lives exploded with school-end activities, graduations, vacation. So today we picked up where we had left off, with John the Baptist’s father Zachariah in the presence of the angel. We talked about the angel’s description of John.

The phrase “soften the hearts of parents to children” caught my attention. This was to be one of the ways that John demonstrated the coming of the kingdom of God. So its opposite demonstrates our need for God: hardening the hearts of parents.

I thought about this in a couple of ways. One was my heart as a piece of meat. I usually like my steak medium rare—nice and juicy. How do you like your steak… rare? Well-done?

How about burnt to a crisp?

Life burns; adults know this. Jesus warned that we must become like children to see the kingdom of God. Have my imagination, hopes and dreams been burnt, hardened?

The other way I thought of the hardening of parents to their children was in the awful literal sense: being sold by your parents into the world of sex slavery. (Hat tip to Si, the key driver of Protest4.)

++ Soften my heart. Oh God, bring freedom for the prisoners. ++

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.