Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday and Psalm 51

Christ in the Desert by Ivan Kramskoi Courtesy Wikipedia
To local church for a moving Ash Wednesday service conducted by the very talented and spiritual Associate Vicar who is now in charge becasue there is an interregnum.

The traditional worship, hymns, ashing and communion is deeply eloquent, and the liturgy is really pointed. Interestingly they have Isiaih 58 with the critical line "To send out the captives, set free" that is interpolated by Luke into Isiaih 61 in Jesus' sermon at Nazareth.

The concluding hymn Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow is by Bernhard Severin Ingemann (1789-1862) - I was completely ignorant of him and didn't know if he was Danish, Swedish or Norwegian. He is an older contemporary of one of my great heros, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) though I can't find any direct interaction between them.

We had Psalm 51 and here, FWIW, is my translation:
Have mercy on me, God, in your kind love;
     in your great mercy wipe away my sins.
Thoroughly wash me from iniquity,
    and purify me from my sinfulness.
For I acknowledge and admit my faults,
    and permanently before me is my sin.
Against you, all alone, have I transgressed,
    and have done what is evil in your sight,
so that you’re in the right to sentence me
    and blameless as your judgments you decree.
Lo, I’ve been sinful from my very birth,
    and from my mother’s womb I’m steeped in sin.
Lo, you desire truth in the inward parts;
    and teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop , and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I’ll be whiter than the snow.
Let me hear joy and happiness again;
    and let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
O hide your countenance from all my sins,
    and wipe away all my iniquities.
Create within me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
O cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your holy spirit from me.
Return to me the joy of your salvation,
    and in a willing spirit hold me up.
Then I will teach transgressors your true ways,
    and sinful people will return to you.
Save me from blood, O God, God of my help,
    my tongue will sing of your deliverance.
O Lord , I pray you open now my lips,
    and my mouth will with joy proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire a sacrifice;
    and my burnt offering would not make you pleased.
The sacrifice of God: a broken spirit;
    a broken contrite heart, God won’t despise.
Do good to Zion in your gracious will;
    build up the ramparts of Jerusalem,
then you’ll delight in rightful sacrifice,
    burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
    then oxen on your altar they will bring.

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