Come to the Altar.
I read this morning in Matthew 5:23 when Jesus said “When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.
As I meditated on this, I realized that we can’t come to the altar with anger or hate in our hearts. It is impossible to contemplate the divine and nurse a resentment at the same time. Case in point, as I was meditating, I found that I was actually ruminating over something my husband did that irritated me. I had no peace because all I could hear were the thoughts rolling around in my head about how he did me wrong. I had no inner altar. I just had inner chaos. It wasn’t until I could see how I contributed to the conflict and resolved to make up for it to him that I could find peace.
Jesus, the master psychologist knew this about us. He so wanted us to experience the peace of God. So, over and over again, he outlines in very practical ways how we can achieve the peace that passes all understanding. Go reconcile with our brothers and sisters. He tells us to make peace with them. Go to them in love and generosity in order to establish harmony.
Imagine how our world would change if we made just this one passage our life’s work. There is so much packed into these few lines that it could take us lifetimes to unpack them. What is the altar? What gift do I bring? Who are our brothers and sisters? What do we do to cause them to be angry and betrayed by us and how do we stop it? And can I behave in a way just in this moment that would keep my heart clean so I can bring my gift to the altar, to the divine?
So, here, I dedicate my day to repairing any damage I have done in order to have a clean heart in which to approach the altar of the sacred.