Psalm 50 – 53

In Psalms 50 to 53 we can see that we are being called to judgement, repentance, and humility. Psalm 50 sets the stage by raising God up above us, stating that He does not need our sacrifices or offerings, although recognized by Him, because God is the overseer and judge of all things created. God has ultimate control over all things, knows the situation of all beings, and we are not necessary for God’s sustenance but entirely rely on God for ours. Thus, “God shines forth” as a God of righteousness and calls on us hypocrites to turn away from sin, so that we may follow God’s law more fully and become better people. Consequently, Psalm 51 contextualizes the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of Psalm 50 into a call to repentance. Overall, this Psalm is a great confession that beseeches God to have mercy upon the psalmist and there are many similarities between our own Anglican liturgical confessions and that of Psalm 51. We all are called to repent and ask for God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness. The passionate recognition of our sin in Psalm 51 is astounding, with verses such as “surely I was sinful at birth” and “yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb” reinforcing the notion of humankind’s fallen nature. Likewise, Psalm 51 is a call to reflect on the crucifixion of Christ as the propitiation of our sins and his resurrection as our hope in God’s infinite mercy as we enter this Lenten season. Lastly, Psalm 52 and 53, as well as 50 and 51, address the issue of humility. Humility is sometimes a hard characteristic or nature to embody in our modern, individualistic society. Lent calls us to humble ourselves as Christ did and to reflect on our faults, which we often, in our day to day lives, are too prideful and ignorant to address. We can often feel that we are fully in control, that God does not oppose us or see what we are doing, we can even feel like God isn’t even there. However, this is wrong, we are not alone and God does know everything about us. God is calling you and I to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and the very often painful and difficult journey of becoming humble and turning away from sin. This turning away, however, is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit; from the humility and repentance embodied in Ash Wednesday to the hopeful joy of Easter Sunday, we must call on God’s Spirit to lead us always.