“May our hearts be open to holy affection…”

Merciful and ever-loving Father,
you have called us into fellowship with your beloved Son.
May our hearts be open to holy affection
and our minds readied to receive and cherish your truth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

The opening prayer for Monday of this week (in the Paraclete Psalter) includes that surprising and slightly disorienting phrase highlighted above: “May our hearts be open to holy affection…” This little phrase has stuck with me the past two days and I have turned it over and over in my mind.

I don’t know the source of the prayer beyond the good people who compiled the Paraclete Psalter. It may be original with them. Jonathan Edwards, the well-known and highly regarded Puritan preacher from the 17th century, used this phrase referring to the fruit of the Spirit but that’s clearly not the case here.

Could it be that God wants us to experience his acceptance through feelings of affection?  Is this affection a result of that fellowship that we experience with his Son?

Simple, unobtrusive ideas like this sneak into our lives reminding us how much God really does love us. They remind us that his love is expressed not only through his acting on our behalf but through his heart. God’s love for us is expressed in his delight. He delights in us to such a degree that he has chosen to dwell within us. These little terms such as delight, dwell and affection give fresh expression to a phrase (God’s love) that suffers not from overuse but from indifference. God’s affection shakes us from this indifference reminding that we are both loved and liked.

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