Psalm 51:1-17 – Ash Wednesday C
Living Psalm Book
Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.
An Ash Wednesday Psalm of Slime and Dust
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.
Blot out my transgressions with more mercy than I can muster.
Ugh. Too often I feel like a slug. Anyone can see
the gunky trail I leave on the sidewalk. And
if I’m not lucky, a bike tire of self-loathing
will crush my thick form in place, unable to slouch
into hiding until I can accept Your love again.
No dust, too slick to return to earth, I am
doubtful You can heal me. It’s not
that I’m a worse sinner than others—it’s not
murder or tyranny I confess, but this inner voice
whispering I am nothing. Not even dust.
Unable to slough these thoughts and feelings,
please purge me, God. Heal my
overwhelm in the face of all the evils I enact:
unkindness and waste, longing for ease, weariness,
stagnation, just wanting to ignore it all.
Blot out my iniquities and my too-contrite heart.
Or, remind me that I’m not as bad as it feels, but
I still have work to do. Sin is not a bad word. It’s
a reminder I’m on the journey with You, slow
as a slug and still beautiful.
Living Psalm for Ash Wednesday Year C: Psalm 51:1-17 was written by Sharon Benton.
Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. Maren Tirabassi, editor
Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.
© Copyright 2022 Sharon Benton. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.