Read Psalm 51.1-17

                Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  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 judgment.  Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.  You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

                 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

                 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


From Pastor H. Thomas Chafin, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), St. Albans

“Oops I sinned, so I need to ask for forgiveness.” Is that really what the Bible teaches? This Psalm of David reveals his thoughts and emotions about his need to repent of sins, which were actually capital crimes involving lying, adultery, murder, and enlisting the aid of others in the coverup.

It’s easy to rush through this Psalm and over focus on some of the most quoted text in the Bible. If we examine each of David’s thoughts and actions, we might ask, “Is this how you go about it?” Was he simply “venting” or was he “repenting.”  True repentance involves “turning away” and a “change of attitude” towards the matter.

David made his appeal based on his acknowledgment from the outset that the only source of mercy was God’s best attribute:  “…according to Your loving kindness!”  So too, may we base our eternal hope “according to God’s loving kindness.”

As we turn from all that would keep us from you and from our neighbors, O God,

help us to keep our eyes fixed on your gracious loving kindness.