Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God (Words from Psalm 51:10-12, Music by Sharon Wilson)

This time last year, I was well into my Core Module training to be an Authorised Lay Minister. The weekly sessions were deeply thought-provoking and enlightening. We learned by listening to our core module tutor, to the different weekly guest tutors, and to each other. The sessions were all online (of course), and each week began with a short act of worship, around 10 minutes long. On the first evening, the tutors took care of that, but at the end of the session, volunteers were sought to plan and lead the opening worship for the second session. Silence. Then two of us spoke together. Josh volunteered at the same time as me, but with the caveat that he couldn’t offer any music. During the Zoom ‘lag’ in which the tutors said not to worry, music wasn’t essential, I jumped in with “that’s ok, I’ll do the music”.

Josh was clear that he had a plan, and wanted to base our act of worship around Psalm 51:10-12 and Numbers 6:24-26, and he even had a song in mind for the psalm that he had heard somewhere in the Philippines a good 20 years previously. I already had recordings for Psalm 51:2 (“Wash Me Throughly” – Handel) and the Numbers 6 verses (“The Lord Bless you and Keep You” Rutter) but these were dismissed. I got to work searching the internet for alternative suitable sheet music. Eventually I found a lovely setting of Ps 51:10-12 by Sharon Wilson. I contacted her for permission to record and share online, which she gave by return email, and then recruited Tom to rehearse with me – at very short notice – for the recording. The text of the song is:

Create in me a clean heart, O God;

renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord;

and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me, the joy of Thy salvation

and uphold me with Thy willing spirit, O God.

Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,

and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;

renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord;

and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Good music deserves to be heard, so this song was also offered by Tom and I in live in church on Ash Wednesday 2021, and the recording of “Wash Me Throughly” was used in the pre-recorded service for Ash Wednesday. If you’re following the parish digital Lenten offerings this year, you’ll probably heard them both quite recently! Just in case you missed them, here are the links:

“Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBD_8aL1hWM

Wash Me Throughlyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6x-_u88EM0

And for completeness, here’s “The Lord Bless you and Keep Youhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6gofRi9bZ4

Carol P


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