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PSALM OF CONFESSION

The tradition of Ash Wednesday is to burn last year’s palm crosses and use the ash to mark worshippers on the forehead with a cross of remind them of their mortality - "for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." This psalm also includes some words based on the famous dictum of Paul Tillich in his sermon on "You are accepted."

 

  1. I know there are times when I'm sinful:
     for sin lies waiting by my footsteps every day.
     
  2. But 'sin' is not a word we use very often:
     what's against the law may not be sinful, after all;
     
  3. the law may be clear in its rulings:
     but the greatest error lies in being found out!
     
  4. Yet a mistake doesn't make me feel guilty:
     I get away with many things, still I'm not a sinner.
     
  5. Nevertheless I'm often conscious of shame:
     I know that I do not like myself,
     
  6. because I have missed the mark:
     or in aiming too low I have found the target.
     
  7. "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return:
     turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ."
     
  8. There's always more that needs to be done:
     sins of omission are more than those I have committed.
     
  9. Repentance means seeing myself in your eyes:
     in your presence I feel like running away from you.
     
  10. "Only accept that you are unacceptable:
     and accept the fact that you are accepted."
     
  11. Just as I am, I come to you for cleansing:
     wash me in your Spirit and help me to grow