Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Psalm 51:20

+ + +

In listening this morning to the great choral classics sung by King’s College Choir and especially Gregorio Allegri’s exquisite Miserere (composed in the 16th century) it is hard not to realize how far we have drifted from a sacred consciousness, a Christian disposition and character, identity – and harder still not to be saddened by this self-imposed exile.

What do I mean?  Miserere’s setting is Psalm 51.  The Choir’s voices sing of things we have misplaced, forgotten, from which we have departed.

The Psalm and the lyrics are of repentance.  It acknowledges one’s sinfulness and seeks God’s mercy and compassion.  It speaks to God’s desire that, despite our sinfulness, we seek a sincerity of heart.  It seeks that we might know wisdom and be cleansed … “hear the sounds of joy and gladness” again.

Further, it seeks that a steadfast spirit be renewed and sustained in us, that we might “teach the wicked” God’s ways and “that sinners may return to” God.  Likewise that our tongues might speak of God’s healing power.

It powerfully proclaims that our “broken spirit” is our sacrifice and pleads in confidence that God will “not spurn a broken and humble heart.”

How can we deny The Word Made Flesh?  How can we offend God?  Act to offend Him? Attempt to exile Him?  How can our public figures, political advocates, judges and pressure groups act so full of pride and without a trace of humility, divorce themselves from time-tested ancient wisdom?

Who gives them the right for this mutiny?  This insurrection?  Why do we listen to them and turn away from God’s timeless voice?


Note – If you wished to keep yourself in a proper and healthy disposition, you would be wise to read Psalm 51 regularly.  Among the things it does, frankly, is unite us with our Jewish brothers and sisters who are the inspiration for this Psalm and its pleading.