Excuse the Latin Please

When I was a young pastor, I would get peeved at those older pastors who would throw out a German phrase at a conference, but not translate it.  Well, now I’m an old pastor and am going throw out a favorite Latin phrase but will translate it.

Augustine coined the phrase, “Curvatus in se.”  Curved in on oneself.  What got me going on this train of thought was a translation of Solomon’s blessing on the people following his prayer at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.  I Kings 8:58, “May he bend our hearts toward him.”

Some translations have “incline”, but I like the image of bending better.  If you’ve ever tried to bend something into the shape you want or tried to straighten what was already bent, you know it takes some effort, maybe more than you have to complete the task.  Luther said that being curved in on oneself means that people, will seek to bend the best gifts of God for their own use and enjoyment alone. Even when we come to faith in Christ, we will have a propensity to bend God to our own use; instead of seeking to be useful to God.

It may be that a pastor in giving the blessing at the end of the service may do so hoping that God will bend our hearts toward himself during the coming week, that we might see our work, our role as spouse, parent, child of parents, brother, sister, and neighbor as ways in which we are serving and glorifying God in everything we say and do.  

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