Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

This meditation is based on a passage for March 17, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Psalm 51

Reflection and Question: This is the classic confession of sin and plea for forgiveness attributed to King David after Nathan had indicted him for stealing Bathsheba from her husband, Uriah. Parts of it are familiar to members of the more liturgical Christian denominations because they are repeated often in Sunday worship. Two claims here are most striking to me. First, “against you, you alone, have I sinned” — only against God, no one else. Second, “the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite heart.” How have you sinned against God and what is it to be contrite?

Prayer: Have mercy on us living Lord, Remember not our sin.
According to Your steadfast love Come, cleanse us deep within.
You are not pleased with sacrifice, It brings You no delight.
A humble spirit giv’n in love Is pleasing in Your sight. Amen.
(Fred R. Anderson, 1986, The Presbyterian Hymnal, 195)