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. -- from Psalm 51
Many years ago when I was, as my pastor likes to put it, out in the weeds -- after I had not only dropped out of church but had become antagonistic toward Christianity altogether, and thought myself entirely over the whole thing...this was one of the liturgical snippets from the old Lutheran Hymnal of my childhood that used to plague me. I'd be driving in my car, or drowsing off to sleep at night, or zoning out at work...when the music and words would just pop into my head, apropos of nothing.
Where did that come from? I thought irritably. Stop it.
But it didn't stop.
Nor did the Agnus Dei. Nor the Sanctus. Nor "This is the Feast" from the LBW.
Stop it, I kept telling myself. Just stop it. Right now.
I still chuckle when I think about it.