A Clear Heart
“Create in me a clean heart O God and restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” – Psalm 51 :10 KJV
A Buddhist scholar, Norman Fischer, has translated this famous verse: “Create in me a clear heart.” Fuzzy, in this translation, is a form of sin and “clear” a form of virtue.
Martin Luther said sin was being “turned in on yourself” or “incurvatus in se.” We imagine that we have the lead in the world’s play, which can’t possibly be true. The earth groans under our self-obsession.
Others say that sin is missing the mark of our true humanity. We behave in ways that demean our creation.
Still others say sin is distance from God. When we aren’t intimate or in primary relationship with the divine, we aren’t dirty so much as distracted. We can’t worship God and Mammon but we sure try. Distance from God is idolatrous: second things become first and refuse to be dethroned.
Imagine how restored our salvation — and God’s creation — would be if we were clear and less focused on ourselves, more intimate with God, and more fully human.
For clarity of heart, we pray. Amen
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her book: Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.