Last night during the Ash Wednesday service, we were doing the traditional recitation of Psalm 51.
It's a perfectly nice psalm; my favorite verse is, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," largely because it reminds me of that wonderful scene in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, when Minnie reads the miners a portion of this psalm and explains, "Cio vuol dire, ragazzi, che non v'e, al mondo, peccatore cui non s'apra una via di redenzione."*
I am afraid, however, that when we got to verse 5 ("Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me"), my mouth just clamped shut. I couldn't say that part, because I don't believe it.
*That means, boys, there isn't a sinner in the entire world to whom a path of redemption will not open.