February is National Heart Month. School kids jump rope to raise money for cardiac research. Go Red for Women events educate about heart disease and warning signs. Public service announcements urge regular checkups and a healthy diet. The overarching message? You have to take care of your heart if it's going to take care of you.
Psalm 119 is an appropriate Psalm for February, then. It's all about taking care of your heart—but not simply the muscle in your chest that gives you physical life. The ancient Israelites also saw the heart as the source of reason, conviction and will. Taking care of your heart meant centering your entire self on the God who gives not only physical but also spiritual life. This poetic psalm extols the best way to do that: Follow God's law. It will protect, preserve, guide and revive you.
Open my heart to your word, Lord, that I might find my center and strength in you. Amen.
Psalm 119:1-8 (NRSV)
1 Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
2 Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
5 O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances.
8 I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.