Lectionary 24 B

Two quick hits on sinfulness.

Semicontinuous Psalm - Psalm 19

But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
--Psalm 19:12

Verse 12 is cited four times in The Book of Concord. First, verse 12 is quoted in The Augsburg Confession, Article 11: Confession (AC 11.2) as scriptural evidence that no one should be expected to be able to list all of their sins. Verse 12 is quoted again a bit later in Article 25: Confession (AC 25.7) to make the same point. Verse 12 is also quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 11: Confession (AP 11.8) to make the same point with this great line: "we will neither remember nor understand most of our sins." Lastly, verse 12 is quoted in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Article 7: The Keys (SA 3.7.1), to make the point that we have been given the authority to forgive even those sins that are unknown.

James 3:1-12

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
-- James 3:5

Verse 5 is cited in a footnote to The Large Catechism, Part 1: The Ten Commandments, The Eighth Commandment (LC 1.291, n. 116) to give the biblical reference for Luther's end of this commandment explanation. Luther had real issues with gossip among Christians. He saw how much damage could be caused to the body of Christ and the proclamation of the gospel through the "smallest member" of our body. It's always worth reflecting on the importance of what we say.


Speech is so powerful. God created everything just by talking. Satan tempts us away with words. We build up and destroy one another by what we say. How much more concerning to think that we will never completely know in this life how much we have hurt people or offended God by what we have said. And yes, God still loves us and calls us to repent.

Watch what you say. It doesn’t seem like much of a cross, but when we pause and reflect on how what we say and don’t say can mess everything up, we might see how communication and relationship are the key, not only for our human relationships, but also for our participation in God’s relationship with us.