Keep Calm and Read a Modern Psalm based on Leviticus 14:1-32 and Matthew 8:1-4:
“Unclean!” I cry with hand on mouth,
With face in bloody shroud.
“Unclean!” I cry in all my filth,
As parts the cringing crowd.
“Make way,” they say “For helpless wretch!
So full of leprosy!
Get far from him so you won’t catch
The fest’ring, vile disease!”
And so I walk past their disgust,
With skin as white as snow.
Be rid of this, I surely must!
But there’s no hope, I know.
For it’s not been in many years,
Not since Elisha’s day.
That leper be healed of all his fears—
There is no possible way!
Wretched man, will none love me?
Will ever I be unclean?
My skin is dead, my heart’s not free—
I’ll never cry “I’m clean!”
But down the street there comes a Man
With thronging crowds around.
I know that Face, I’ve seen that Hand—
The Hand where healing’s found.
And something deep within compels,
For unclean to speak to clean.
In all my sin, I fall and yell,
“If You will, make me clean!”
And then with outstretched hand to clutch
A man who’s so unclean,
With smiling face, He gives me touch
And says, “I will, be Clean!”
Immediately my skin clears up—
The touch has freed my soul.
How could a man so sick, messed-up
Now be completely whole?
Hallelujah! I am free—
The one who cried “Unclean!”
My plague falls off—O can it be?
That I can cry “I’m clean”?
“Don’t stand around but follow Law,
And go before the priest.
Your off’ring bring, your proof withdraw
That you have been released.”
With praise and promise I depart
To heed God’s Holy Words.
For sacrifice I need each part—
The wood, the herb, the Birds.
Yes, I bring two birds wild and clean
Before the Holy Priest.
He takes the one and with stroke mean,
He kills it like a beast.
In water, he runs its blood of red,
And takes the living bird—
With wood, hyssop, and scarlet thread–
He in the blood interred.
Hallelujah, can it be—
To one who cried “Unclean!”
In blood and water, I can see
That I am now made clean.
And down my face there comes a flood,
As priest makes healing sure.
That living bird, now drenched in blood,
Let free like one that’s cured.
And as his wings beat madly on
In freedom so unchained,
I see myself with freedom dawned,
Like bird who ‘scaped the pain.
Then priest took of the bloody mess,
Of bird, the sacrifice,
And sprinkled o’er this thankful wretch,
And said the blood sufficed.
I skipped into the open field,
Foll’wing the flight of bird.
With joy I vowed my life to yield,
To God’s Most perfect Word.
Hallelujah, I’m set free—
The one who cried, “Unclean!”
My plague is gone eternally.
As Priest declares me clean.
It took some years to understand,
As I flew through my life.
I tried hard to obey command,
But met only with strife.
‘Till one day in Jerusalem,
I saw the Man that healed.
He hung there on the wood so grim,
Caked with His blood congealed.
The Healer of my broken dreams,
Now hung there broken through.
I watched Him die in bloody streams,
With no wrong to Him due.
I saw Him take much more than pain,
He took my real disease—
I saw in Him that bird that’s slain,
As me from sin He frees!
Hallelujah, He died for me—
The one who cried “Unclean!”
My sin is gone—yes, gone from me!
In Christ I now am clean!
-Matthew W., SC