Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Reflection

Part of my spiritual practice is to daily read a portion of the Rule of Benedict; the version I read has commentary to go with each reading. One of the recent readings/commentary had something that I think I may try doing this lent: "Each of us should have two pockets," the rabbis teach. "In one should be the message, 'I am dust and ashes,' in the other we should have written, 'For me the universe is made.'"

With the addition of reading Psalm 67 (plea for continued blessing) and Psalm 51 (need for continual forgiveness) daily during Lent.

Psalm 67
1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
2 That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Psalm 51
1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast 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 uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.


murat11 said...

jsd: Psalm 51 sounds familiar: last night's Ash Wednesday service. We were sitting in your section, next to the choir.

jsd said...

murat: i sat in a section i don't normally sit in...evil church lady was sitting where I usually sit...and i just wasn't ready to share the peace with her. in moving i got to have some glorious sunshine and warm my back through the large glass windows.

i don't think i'll ever really fit in here, and i have to keep reminding myself that that is ok.

that i need to be able to find God anywhere, while holding onto myself, and the langauge of church that speaks to me - even if it's not at church i find these things.

Cecilia said...

I heard that piece about two pieces of paper in your pockts years ago, and it has really stayed with me. Thanks for reminding me of its truth and beauty here.

Pax, C.

Lee said...

Psalm 51 lyrics brought back old "praise song" phrases from my early church days.

I keep hearing about the Rule of Benedict. Guess I'm gonna have to hope to get a copy someday.

Thought I'd responded to this one earlier. Sorry. It must not have taken.


San said...

That pocket wisdom is profound. The balancing act--humility against personal power--one that requires grace.

And your Psalms pairing is similar. No?

jsd said...

San: I can't claim the Psalms pairing - Benedict lays out which Psalms should be read and when. 67 and 51 for the monks are said everyday of the year; in one week the monks pray every Psalm in the Bible.

So, I thought I'd give reading these 2 everyday a try too.