Left out of the Lectionary.

September 15, 2016


We never, to my knowledge, get to read or sing all of Psalm 51 in worship. Even on Ash Wednesday, when we sing a great deal of it, we leave out the last two verses. Which is too bad, because so much lurks in Psalm 51 - even pieces of Scripture that we say regularly in worship (O Lord open my lips...).


So here is all of Psalm 51. We heard the first 10 verses on Sunday:


1 Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
   blot out my transgressions. 
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
   and cleanse me from my sin. 

3 For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is ever before me. 
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
   and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
   and blameless when you pass judgement. 
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
   a sinner when my mother conceived me. 

6 You desire truth in the inward being;
   therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. 
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
   wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. 
9 Hide your face from my sins,
   and blot out all my iniquities. 

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and put a new and right spirit within me. 
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
   and do not take your holy spirit from me. 
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and sustain in me a willing spirit. 

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
   and sinners will return to you. 
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
   O God of my salvation,
   and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance. 

15 O Lord, open my lips,
   and my mouth will declare your praise. 
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
   if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased. 
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
   rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
   in burnt-offerings and whole burnt-offerings;
   then bulls will be offered on your altar.


Blood and sacrifice and hearts come up over and over in the Psalm.  What does it ask us to consider that God wants for our hearts?  What song shall we sing to praise God for our deliverance?


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