Right sacrificespraying in pew                                                                           

“then you will delight in right sacrifices,”

– Psalm 51:19a

The closing verse of Psalm 51 feels like a U-turn.   After saying in verse 16  For you have no delight in sacrifice,  the writer seems to take the opposite tack to describe a time when God will not only welcome, but delight in sacrifices.   For some scholars, this is one of the indications that verses 18 and 19 were later additions to the psalm.

While noting that real possibility, there’s another interpretation that Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggeman suggests we might want to consider.  Might it be the case that once the psalmist approached God for mercy, once he acknowledged the stains on his life, once he sought to be cleansed, and once he offered a contrite heart — perhaps it was only then that the sacrifices that he offered were acceptable and pleasing to God.

We may have made some sacrifices during these weeks of Lent as we sought to follow our Lord to the cross. They may have included fasting, doing an extra service for others, or maybe foregoing some favorite food or other comfort.   Whatever it has been, I pray that along the way we have become just a bit more attuned to God’s mercy, just a bit more mindful of the rough or broken edges in our own lives, and a bit more grateful for the gift that awaits us at weeks’ end.



Dear God,

We pray that you will accept our efforts to worship you , to serve you, and to serve those around us who are in need.   Nurture in us an even greater devotion and commitment to you and the gospel of our Lord and Savior.