Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Psalm 51:1-12

Pentecost +9 – Year B

Psalm 51:1-12

Jim Taylor's Everyday Psalms begins:
     1      Scrub me clean, Lord.
     Rub me down gently;
     By your touch, show how much you love me;
     Flush away my failures;

I appreciate the tangibleness Jim brings to this Psalm.

Clean hearts are not a magical re-virginization of our intentions, but the soaking and scrubbing clean of very real messiness. This restoration is different than, "Wow! Forgiveness. That was interesting." This is not a matter of getting our head right and our heart will follow.

Looking back at John and Samuel, can you find the tangibleness to bread and consequences? We are not looking so much at a fresh start as a renewal within the journey we have always been on. By the end of the Psalm we are rebuilding and repairing broken walls. Our location is alright, Paradise is a good place to be, but we need to revision condemnation and sacrifice and move from a touch that destroys to a touch that loves deeper than failure.

This is an issue key for Christians, as the Jewish Study Bible notes regarding verse 7:
"So extreme are the psalmist's guilt feelings that he sees himself as sinful even before birth; in other words, he is, by nature, a sinful being. The idea of the inherent sinfulness of humans is rarely expressed in the Bible, except for Gen. 8:21 … (see also Job 25:4). Christianity developed the notion of original sin."

Do we want to return to the tradition of Jesus or continue following the accumulating doctrines of Christian institutionalism? What might yet happen should we dial back the extreme of inappropriate guilt?

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