I was going to right a list of the more and less pure-hearted (single-minded-kingdom-devoted) aspects of my life. Instead there have been two things in my life over the past month or more that, now I think about it, seem relevant.
The first is a new prayer-practice. I've taken on Scot McKnight's suggestion of saying the "Jesus Creed" when I wake and before I go to sleep - and random moments in between. If you haven't come across it, McKnight wrote an award winning book called 'The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others' back in 2005. He argues that Jesus, as a faithful Jew, would have prayed the Shema (Deut 6.4-5) everyday of his life. And then points out that the gospels give us his twist on the Shema in answer to the question 'what is the most important commandment' (Mark 12.29-31). So McKnight argued that it would be faithful to Jesus and good for our own prayer life to take up Jesus' version of the Shema as a prayer rhythm. So since lockdown, that's what I've been doing. Notice how closely it aligns with the interpretation of pure in heart that I'm working with. Here's the Jesus Creed:
Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
It's early days to see the way in which this habit changes me. But I'm hoping the constant refrain "with all", said day and night, will help align my thoughts and deeds more consistently around what Jesus said was the most important thing - loving God and loving others. Maybe I will see God more clearly; at least see his glory in the faces of others?
My second experience of pure-hardheartedness hasn't been about me, but rather a young man in our church whose prayers and witness has been touching many of us over the past while. Through Jesse God has been surprising us by his grace. Simply and beautifully, God and Jesse have got something going on that caught me by surprise. And it feels very pure-hearted, and more and more I'm seeing God's glory in Jesse's face. No one contrived it, let alone expected it. Jesse's pure-hearted love of God has just been a beautiful gift from God, wrought deep within him by the Holy Spirit. It reminds me that God is indeed with us - something I am very grateful for.