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Speaking to the Soul: A Clean Start

Speaking to the Soul: A Clean Start

Holy Week, Year One


[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 51:1-18(19-20) (morning) // 69:1-23 (evening)

Jeremiah 12:1-16

Philemon 3:1-14

John 12:9-19


The Christian life includes many opportunities for claiming a clean start. In fact, every morning is such an opportunity. For centuries, Christians have been starting each day with a few verses from this morning’s Psalm. We can find these verses extracted from Psalm 51 and slightly rearranged on page 137 of the Book of Common Prayer–the simplest form of Morning Prayer for personal devotion:


“Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. / Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. / Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me. / Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.”


Today, the Monday morning of Holy Week, is the perfect time to ask God for a clean start. And these verses from the Psalms give us the perfect way to ask for that clean start: “Open my lips . . . Create in me a clean heart . . . Cast me not away from your presence . . . Give me the joy of your saving help again . . .” We ask to be opened, to have our hearts cleansed, to stay in God’s presence, and to be given (once again!) the help that we need to sustain us.


These verses are worth taking to heart, committing to memory, and speaking again and again, morning by morning, as Christians have done for ages. We need a clean start not only at turning points in our lives, but each morning as we rise up and start over. Let’s walk with these words today, or maybe every day of this Holy Week, toward the new morning that God has in store for us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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