Psalm 51

Psalm 51:19 

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;  

a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 

Explanation of this work of art 

This is a penitential psalm. A piece of this psalm is sung every morning by monks who adhere to the rules of St. Benedict: ‘Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise!’ That praise is declared from a position of (restored) brokenness. The broken heart is mentioned in this psalm, but it also refers to the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Whosoever bows down his heart in humility, and presents it broken and crushed before God, will never be rejected by God. Inspiration for this image came to me through a saying by a Polish Rabbi: ‘Break your heart, that way you will find it’. – Jedi Noordegraaf 

What do you regret? 

For us people it often is difficult to honestly admit to our mistakes and shortcomings. By way of diving under the surface, literally and figuratively, we rather fool ourselves and think ourselves to be invincible. Once that becomes impossible for us, we yearn for love and grace. For instance: something happened and you are terribly ashamed. Will you be brave enough to admit to your truth and will you be able to believe that people will receive you in grace? In this church we believe in a God who looks on us with endless love. He is a God we can always turn to when we fail. He will give us much needed rest. For us humans, we know all too well what it is like to be human, in all its difficulties and complexities. If these things apply to you as well, what makes you truly remorseful? 

Psalm 51 

For the director of music. A psalm of David.  

When the prophet Nathan came to him  

after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. 

Have mercy on me, O God, 

according to your unfailing love; 

according to your great compassion 

blot out my transgressions. 

Wash away all my iniquity 

and cleanse me from my sin. 

For I know my transgressions, 

and my sin is always before me.,  

Against you, you only, have I sinned 

and done what is evil in your sight; 

so you are right in your verdict 

and justified when you judge. 

Surely I was sinful at birth, 

sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; 

you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; 

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 

Let me hear joy and gladness; 

let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 

Hide your face from my sins 

and blot out all my iniquity. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, 

and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Do not cast me from your presence 

or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation 

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, 

so that sinners will turn back to you. 

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, 

you who are God my Savior, 

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 

Open my lips, Lord, 

and my mouth will declare your praise. 

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; 

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; 

a broken and contrite heart 

you, God, will not despise. 

May it please you to prosper Zion, 

to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 

Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, 

in burnt offerings offered whole; 

then bulls will be offered on your altar. 

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