It’s easy for faith to become about what goes on in our heads. We speak of believing largely in terms of having the right ideas about God, and following Jesus as adhering to a set of rules. Especially when we’ve been people of faith for some time, we can fall into religion as a habit, with little of the power and passion remaining.

But this week the readings speak directly to our hearts. In the Old Testament, we read a beautiful love poem from the Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs). The scene in today’s reading is of two young lovers enjoying the beauty and warmth of the springtime world, but if we were to keep reading, we would discover some pretty explicit erotic poetry! Yet, through the ages, many Jewish and Christian scholars have interpreted the Song as an allegory about God’s love for God’s people. This means that our relationship with God is not just about what happens in our heads, but is meant to be a passionate love affair with our Creator.

In the Gospel reading for this week, the religious leaders confront Jesus because his disciples don’t wash their hands before they eat. Immediately Jesus points out that such legalism results from hearts that have grown cold. The religious leaders, Jesus implies, have lost their passion, and all they have left is a set of religious rules that they must defend. Whenever we see religious people pointing fingers at others, defending rules and ideas, or claiming some sort of special privilege with God, you can be sure that you’re dealing with a heart that has grown cold. The challenge this week is for us to keep the flame of passion alive in our hearts as we worship God and follow Jesus.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.