Praying Psalm 51 has been a great way for me to focus my Lenten attention and intention. I like honing in on one word a day. Many of the words convey my/our alienation from God: transgressions, iniquity, sin, evil, sentence, guilt, judgment, guilty, sinner…. Other words focus on God’s graceful removal of those things: cleanse, blot, wash, love, mercy….
Another benefit of sticking with one psalm is memorization. The words on the calendar are like a prompter on the side of the stage reminding me of my lines. Psalm 51 is not one of the psalms I know by heart, but I can almost recite the first six verses now. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. 5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. NRSV
For this year’s calendar I decided to use only gray, black, red, and purples–colors I associate with Lent. The limited number of colors prevents me from getting too hung up about the product rather than the process of prayer.
P.S. Nap count 3.5 /24–ugh!