The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/02/2003):

Confession of Sin
Todayís WORSHIP QUOTE is from the sixteenth-century quill of Teresa of Avila. As you can see, sin against God was a very serious matter for her; and understanding Godís love and forgiveness brought her great joy. So let it be with us.

O Lord my God! I cannot speak to you at present without both tears of sadness and also overwhelming joy. You desire constantly to be present within me, and for that my soul is filled with gladness. Yet despite your wonderful love, I still so often do things which offend and upset you. Is it possible, Lord, for a soul which has received such blessings as you have bestowed on my soul, still to remain so hard and stubborn? Yes, I know it is possible, because I so frequently rebuff your advances and reject your blessings. Perhaps I am the only person alive who treats you so badly. I hope so, because I cannot bear the thought of others offending you in the same measure.

Teach me, Lord, to sing of your mercies. Turn my soul into a garden, where the flowers dance in the garden breeze, praising you with their beauty. Let my soul be filled with beautiful virtues; let me be inspired by your Holy Spirit; let me praise you always.

óTeresa of Avila (1515-1582), THE HARPERCOLLINS BOOK OF PRAYERS, compiled by Robert Van de Weyer (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), page 346. As collected in BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: PRAYERS AND REFLECTIONS THAT CELEBRATE AN INTIMATE GOD, compiled and edited by Ken Gire (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 128. ISBN 0-06-063046-9

[Perhaps Teresa of Avila had been meditating on Psalm 32, Psalm 38, and Psalm 51. Her words remind me of the Apostle Paulís statement that he was the "chief of sinners." How wonderful that she was not left wallowing in the heaviness of her sin, but rather aspiring to sing the mercies of our forgiving God. Take a look at Psalm 32:1-2.]

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky