Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Chance to "Do Over" and Not "Dwell on It"

For the longest time, I couldn't see the point in confession. Before I truly believed that I am beloved by God, saying the confession during the church service either seemed hypocritical (did I mean the words I mouthed?) or induced  fresh waves of guilt and shame despite the absolution given by the priest.


Confession said on Sundays when I was a teen.

Perhaps it just takes me a bit longer, but last year as I put together a Rule of Life (part of becoming an associate of the Order of the Holy Cross), I was again confronted with this prevailing belief that confession was some antiquated words that held no real meaning now.

I consulted Mary, a friend of mine, about this dilemma. It seems that, generally speaking, Episcopalians didn't much care for confession -- baggage most like from being Protestant and separated from the Catholic church 500 some years ago.

Mary shared with me a prayer that both thanked God for the day's blessings and asked me to recognize when I had been at fault. I liked the balance.

Saying this prayer led me to the eventual revelation that confession gives me a way to start over each day. To lay both the beauties and the uglinesses of the day at God's feet and start afresh the next day.

To not carry the burdens of wrong, unkindness and frustrations into the next day.



My confession that I sometimes say in the morning (usually I pray the confession at night)

Christ, for us, is born anew every day (which we especially remember at Advent and Christmas) and he is resurrected anew every day too.

What does this mean? Well, it's a chance to "do over" and not "dwell on it".

Which as I discovered is not as easy as it sounds when I reacted to something this morning -- loudly. 



Perhaps I ought to confess at this point that I skipped confession this morning, and hurried through it the night before. Hmm.



Lovely Christmas gift from my sister-in-law... "Prayer"
But I still hope that it will become easier with practice, this letting go of burdens that I used to cling to and unhealthily obsess over.

What works for you in letting go of your burdens and baggage? Or what doesn't work?



I am linking this to Ann Voskamp's "Walk with Him Wednesdays".

4 comments:

  1. I always understood the scripture to mean that we confess and repent of our sin once at the point of salvation. This initiates a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After that our confession is to him as our high priest. We go to him with our sin to restore our fellowship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit (who indwells when we iniatally come to him as sinner and establish the relationship with Christ). The book of Hebrews in the New Testament deals with the "priesthood of the believer". Because of the finished work of the death, burial and resurrection of the perfect sinless Son of God we now have access to God through Him when we recogize that we cannot do enough to save our selves and we need a Savior. We accept by faith that Christ died for us personally and accept His payment on the cross for our sins. It was a payment once for all. Then daily (sometimes hourly) we sin and must confess in order to restore fellowship with Christ. But our relationship is established by his death, burial and resurrection and that does not change because it is HIS WORK and not ours. Ephesians 6:9 "For by grace are ye saved, through faith,it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." It is grace and mercy in that we are the sinners and He was sinless yet He took our sin upon Himself and paid for it all. Just my thoughts. There is great freedom in Christ Alone.

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  2. Susan, I think you are right. But my upbringing is that we were baptized at birth (the point at which the repentance of our sins is supposed to take place according to scripture and early church tradition). There really isn't anything liturgical in place in Anglican/Episcopal faith that celebrates or marks that repentance (beyond in corporate worship). We are baptized once (as a baby for my generation) and we are saved. Confirmation seemed little more than a "this is what you've signed up for" class that was a parental expectation.

    The Sacrament of Reconciliation (once known as confession) is available but not promoted.

    All of this to say, is that the ones who get in the way of a relationship with God are we humans. We say we are not worthy, we do not believe, we are ashamed, we don't accept forgiveness, nor forgive.

    But God's right there, loving us and wanting to be in relationship with us, and in relationship with us if we'd just open our eyes ...

    ... and its at this point I join in with you, so I won't repeat what you said. *grin*

    The prayer of confession is one of the ways that helps me remember Him and helps me start each day with a clean slate, so to speak.

    Thanks for reading my post, Susan, and blessings to you this Christmas season.

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  3. Although I am not with you on your beliefs about infant baptism (and therefore our beliefs about the function of daily confession are likely different), I am with you on daily beginning your day in a renewing prayer that aligns our hearts with God's. It isn't that we need to once again receive salvation, but that we need daily reminders that we live in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I would not go so far to say that Christ is resurrected anew each day. That isn't scriptural. "So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Hebrews 9:28

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  4. Amanda -- and don't forget we also both believe in one baptism! I also didn't mean the "resurrected anew" part literally and if you took it that way, that means I've got to work on how I express myself. Tricky stuff, I guess, mixing theology and metaphor. Like His being "reborn" each day, it's a metaphor for remembering how much God loves us. Thanks for stopping by, and blessings to you!

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