Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday - Psalm 51 - Leslie F. Brandt paraphrase

Today is Ash Wednesday. Most Baptist churches (the one I grew up in included) only observe certain parts of the liturgical calendar. Lent was not included in the rhythm of worship in my home church, but I am growing in my appreciation for this spiritual discipline. My Lenten fast this year includes desserts, between meal snacks of any kind, and soft drinks.

From Psalms / Now here is Leslie F. Brandt’s paraphrase of Psalm 51, an important passage of scripture for Lent. Unfortunately, blogspot's limitations make it difficult to render the printed structure the way it is in the book. The content is the most important thing. It works OK as prose.

O God, may the measure of Your eternal love be the measure of Your mercy. And may the measure of Your mercy be sufficient to blot out my great sins and cancel out the guilt of my wrongdoing.

I have failed, O Lord, and my failures weigh heavily upon my heart. I cannot share them with my brother lest they weigh too heavily upon him and may even threaten my relationship with him. But You know what they are, O God, and how far I have fallen short of Your standards and expectations.

I am only human, Lord. It was not by my choice that I was propelled into this fractured world. The weaknesses that plague me are not all of my doing, nor can I handle them by my strength alone.

I know that nothing can be hidden from You. I can only acknowledge my indictment and accept Your loving forgiveness. Purge me of my guilt, O Lord; heal the hurts of those who have been afflicted by my failures.

Revive my flagging spirit, O God. Restore to me the joy and assurance of a right relationship with You. Reinstate me in You purposes and help me to avoid the snares and pitfalls along the way.

It is only then that my tongue will be set free to sing Your praises and my hands to perform the tasks You have set before me. It is only then that I can relate deeply and meaningfully to my brother and communicate to him the message of reconciling love.

I bring You no oblation or sacrifice, my God, only a foolish and self-centered heart. I do come to You with a sincere desire to be Your servant, to walk in Your course for my life, to receive Your love and channel it to my fellowmen about me.

I thank You, God, that this is acceptable to You and that I will remain Your son forever.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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