For this year’s Lent I thought I would look at some of the Psalms as part of my discipline. To help me do this, I have set out to read a psalm every day and to post a verse or two each week (usually Wednesday).

Today I have been looking at Psalm 51. Tradition has it that King David wrote this to express his remorse and sorry for his own poor behaviour (see 2 Kings chapters 11 and 12 for the full story). The psalm is also associated with the rites and services that  mark the beginning of Lent.

Verse 17 is the one that caught my attention: “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” I suppose it is one of my favourite verses in the Bible as it can be a comfort when life is going awry, and maybe you even realise that it is all/partly your own fault. You are upset to put it mildly. If you are broken-hearted, God still finds your heart acceptable. That is to say, an honest, yet broken, heart is preferable to an intact, but proud, one. A broken heart can be mended. A proud heart needs some serious re-working.

A prayer from Common Worship

Holy God, our lives are laid open before you. Rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Additional Collect for Ash Wednesday)