Thursday, March 2, 2017

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Psalm 51 is one of the texts of this day and this phrase from it is my mantra for today:


 I have read and sung and prayed this phrase over and over again for years.  As I did some reading this morning and reflecting I realize that it really says it all.  Beginning with the word - CREATE.
What that reminds me of is God is at work and God's work is creation and recreation. And it also reminds me that a clean heart is not something I can do on my own.  I need a source that is greater than me.

It also reminds me that I don't have a clean heart.  I always like this story by Anthony de Mello from The Song of the Bird:

 A preacher put this question to a class of children: "If all the good people were white and all the bad people were black, what color would you be?"
Little Mary Jane replied, "Reverend, I'd be streaky!"

So would the preacher. So would the mahatmas, popes, and saints.


 The difference between Little Mary Jane and most of us is that we don't easily acknowledge our streakiness.  Often the Dark Night of the Soul comes as we face the ways in which we have hurt others, ourselves and God.  We can go a long time in denial and defensiveness before we acknowledge certain aspects of our sinfulness.

Psalm 51 is supposedly David's realization of the depth of his sin in his adultery with Bathsheba and all of its consequences. Praying this Psalm - really praying it - is not for the faint of heart.  But it is appropriate for the beginning of Lent and for any of us who take seriously the transforming work that God can do within our souls and our lives which will ultimately affect the world.

So today is a day for me to spend time with these words - "CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART" and trust in the mystery of God's grace, mercy and recreation.

Here is a wonderful poem I found online about this Psalm. by Sylvia Purdie  from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Psalm 51: Standing under the shower of Confession

The most lovely of Psalms, number 51,

but how do we get to verse 1?

What needs to happen in us before we can begin?

because us silly people tend to be much more

comfortable hiding

under umbrellas of self justification.

O crap. things have gone bad.

It’s not my fault!

If only he wasn’t so arrogant

she needs to sort her shit out

you change, not me!

The last thing we want to do

is recognize our rebellion.

How do we train ourselves to bring

honesty to our God

to peel back the layers of pride?

We quite like our own dirt

do we want to be washed clean?

This Psalm, of all Psalms,

takes the most guts to read

but you can do it!

Like a child shoved under the shower

Take a deep breath and begin –
Have mercy on me, O God …


No comments: