At a school chapel service about a year ago, we prayed for the brother of one of our students who was waiting for a heart transplant. Something had happened to the five-year-old’s heart and it didn’t work the way it was supposed to anymore. He had to be connected to all sorts of machines and live at the hospital until a new heart could be found for him. But this past summer, after six months of waiting, Alex’s brother Ramone finally got a new and healthy heart and was able to come home.
In Psalm 51:10, King David writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Just like Ramone, King David had a bad heart. But the problem with David’s heart wasn’t that it was unhealthy, it was that it was filled with sin. And David was frustrated because he trusted in God his Savior and he wanted to do right, but he would keep doing wrong because of the sin in his heart.
Don’t we often have the same problem? We know what the right thing is do. We know that we should love each other, that we should obey those in authority, that we shouldn’t cheat or lie or steal, but as hard as we try not to do them, we fall right back into doing these bad things. And we see that we have a broken heart, a heart filled with sin.
Like Ramone, we have a serious problem—we need a new heart. And how do we get that new heart? The only way Ramone could get a new heart was if someone died. And tragically, a young child did die, but his death meant life for Ramone.
Just as someone had to die so that Ramone could get a new heart and become healthy again, someone had to die for us to have new hearts washed clean from sin. That person was Jesus, who suffered and died on the cross to make us clean before God again.
After Ramone received his heart transplant last summer, he planned to start kindergarten at Peace Lutheran School. But the doctors didn’t think it was a good idea yet because his body wasn’t strong enough to handle all of the germs that he might come in contact with being around other children. He had a new heart and it was working, but he has to be careful to stay away from things that might make his heart sick.
We too have been given a new heart to believe God’s forgiveness in Jesus, but there are many temptations and dangers around that can make our heart sick again. Knowing that Jesus died to give us a new and clean heart before God, we want to keep it that way. Just as little Ramone needed the help of his parents to keep him away from things that would make him sick, we need God’s help to keep us from danger and temptations and evil. And when we do sin, we know that we can come to him and ask him to forgive our sins, to wash our hearts clean, and to help us put off sins and live for him. Amen.
Reverend Matthew Moldstad
Peace Lutheran Church