Lectionary Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 51:

Psalm 51, one of the seven penitential psalms, is a poignant cry for divine forgiveness, appealing to God’s goodness, mercy, and compassion (v. 1).

It acknowledges sin in terms of three contrasting images: rebelliousness (vv. 1,3), waywardness (v. 2), and failure (v. 3). It acknowledges the relational barrier that sin creates (v. 4), the importance of inner renewal that only God can bring (v. 10), and the way that forgiveness leads to testimony and praise (vv. 13-15).

The conclusion of the psalm reprises the main theme of Ps. 50 (vv. 16-19), suggesting that Pss. 50 and 51 can helpfully be studied and prayed together.

Prayer for reflection:
Merciful God, we cannot stand before you
unless our hearts are cleansed and our spirits are made right by your redeeming.
Thank you for your merciful forgiveness,
and even more for your transforming love
made known to us in Jesus the Savior. Amen. 

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