Transactional Religion

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“You Move First, God.” (Psalm 51 rearranged and re-explained)

O God, according to your steadfast love: 

  have mercy on me;

    blot out my transgressions;

      wash me thoroughly from my iniquity;

        cleanse me from my sin;

                purge me with hyssop; 

             wash me; 

               make me whiter than snow;

                       create a clean heart in me; 

                  put a new and right spirit in me;

                                restore my joy of salvation;

                       teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

                         sustain in me a willing spirit;

                           and deliver me from bloodshed.

Then I’ll sing aloud of your deliverance.


I know my transgressions; my sin is ever before me.

I’ve sinned against you, God. 

I’ve done what is evil in your sight.

You desire truth in the inward being,

So hide your face from my sins,

     blot out all my iniquities 

         and create a clean heart in me. 


Restore my joy in salvation;

sustain me willingly;

let me hear happy music 

and restore my health. 

Then I’ll teach transgressors your way and praise you. 


You have no delight in sacrifices or burnt offerings, 

     but you DO accept broken spirits and contrite hearts. 

So restore our city,

then we’ll bring you those, and the burnt stuff too. 

2 Replies to “Transactional Religion”

  1. My favorites have included your compositions from Psalm 19, Psalm 139 and this one from Psalm 51.

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    Ted Siemens
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  2. I just “indexed” the things I’ve done with Psalms since about 2009. Turns out I’ve used (or abused) 110 of them. Now I have a month’s worth scheduled here at the blog, so at least until Sept 19 they’ll come along steadily.

    Tell me, though, what it was you particularly liked about the Psalm 51 one? On reflection, I think those 4 “rearrangements” are upsetting to my traditional understanding of the text.


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