Thursday, 20 October 2016

Confession and Absolution

(Journaled April 6, 2016)

I think "confession" is something that way too many churches skip over during their gatherings. I think it is really helpful to include prayers of general confession (especially during communion services, but even generally), so people understand the necessity of repentance, and have an example or pattern of how to confess individually. And it does serve as an extra warning, too. It also reminds us of the awesomeness of God's forgiveness and mercy, when we contemplate the truth of our wickedness. I wonder if it gets skipped because it takes too much time, or is considered too "liturgical" or too "ritualistic" ... or perhaps there is a concern that such a confession is too "in your face" and might offend some people. If Communion is really so serious as scripture shows it to be, I think prayers of confession are really helpful, as in this prayer from a past edition of an Anglican prayer book:

"We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we from time to time most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

And then there is "absolution." Now maybe some people might think this is too "liturgical," but I think it is very comforting and assuring, especially for those who fear that they are too unworthy of God's forgiveness and love and acceptance.

"Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

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