Thursday, March 2
by Francie Kerr
I love Psalm 51 appointed for this day. This psalm is used in the Ash Wednesday service in the BCP, and several verses of the psalm are very familiar to us. The Morning Prayer service, which we Episcopalians hardly experience these days, uses verse 16 as introduction to the Invitatory and Psalter:
Officiant: “O Lord, open our lips.”
People: “And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.”
Psalm 51 was written by David, who was a musician. There are many composers who were inspired to write pieces of music using parts of the text from it. One motet I have sung in church choirs is based on verses 11 and 12:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your holy Spirit from me.”
Although the tone of the psalm is penitential, you can sense David’s “right spirit” shining through, singing praise to God.