Background picture of pebbles with the words: A liturgy for the forgiveness of bloodguilt (based on Psalm 51) | Faith in Grey Places

A liturgy for the forgiveness of bloodguilt (based on Psalm 51)

It so happens that the revised common lectionary puts readings from Psalm 51 and 1 Timothy 1:12-17 on the same day. It’s year C, on the 19th Sunday in ordinary time.

In each of them, the authors reflect on their bloodguilt – the guilt of shedding innocent blood.

Below I’ve written a liturgy that congregations can use to pray for forgiveness of any guilt they may bear for shedding blood. First, I’ll give a little context.

Continue reading A liturgy for the forgiveness of bloodguilt (based on Psalm 51)

Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 6: Fragrance

I once took some spikenard to church. 

The oil had lost much of its pungency in the 10 years since I had bought it. And I only had a 5ml bottle. But it was still plenty strong enough. 

It was two weeks before Easter, Passion Sunday. And by “passion,” I mean “suffering” – because that’s what the word originally meant in Latin. That Sunday, and the two weeks that follow it, are when the church remembers Jesus’s suffering and his death on Good Friday. 

The Bible reading was about a woman called Mary (not Jesus’s mother). She had a pint – note: a pint – of spikenard and poured it over Jesus’s feet (John 12:1-8). People criticised her saying it was a waste of a year’s worth of wages. But Jesus defended her; he said she was preparing him for his burial. 

Continue reading Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 6: Fragrance