If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
-1 John 1:9 (NRSV)
One of the segments of the worship liturgy which has stuck with me since returning to the Lutheran church is the time for personal and corporate confession. It’s imprinted in my consciousness because it not only reminds me of my battles with sin (which is a reality), it gives me a chance to confront it (even for a short moment). Face it weekly with my faith family. At times there is guilt, other times there is shame, but what is crucial is there is room for confession, absolution and renewal … to keep on going in working out our salvation. Nothing about earning God’s favor here, that’s settled in Christ’s work on the cross, but some effort is needed to keep us on track so the work of the Spirit can continue.
Confession of sins also happens when I sit before trusted individuals and they become the "confession booth" for me. Secrets and especially secrets to cover up lies and deceit are severely damaging to our souls. We will be trapped and imprisoned by the constant cycle of deception. That’s tragic when we know the message of Christ is about freedom – true freedom. But maybe because we are so used to environments where we are less truthful that being truthful about ourselves takes some effort.
The cycle of deceit needs to be confronted by a new rhythm of confession of sin. The process of cleansing then has a deeper impact on the secret chambers of our hearts. The next time you spend some time in confession whether privately, in smaller groups or corporately … remember the forgiveness comes from a costly action by the one who demonstrated his love on the cross, the forgiveness opens up the door to leave sins behind and move forward freely. Do we lapse on and off? we know the answers to that. The question is, can we begin again and again? Repentance is an ongoing practice!
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If we were left on our own, doing our own thing, I guess, we’d prefer "shallow waters" rather than going deeper. Why would we want to trouble ourselves? Why should be leave the comfort of our surroundings? What’s the point of going an extra mile, or in many cases, an extra inch? Especially when we feel we have enough burdens of our own. And then we sigh …
But there’s a wonder which comes, when we stretch ourselves from an inch to an extra mile and everything in between. Whether it’s in personal prayer and meditation, or corporate worship or a missional practice, wonders come after we begin getting ourselves wet in deeper water.
During a time of sharing in a LiFE group last night, that was what I witnessed exactly. A brother shared how the mere attempt to identify with traffic controllers at the mall lead him to intercede for their well being. A sister shared how rereading a familiar verse afresh brought new insights to press on at work. Another brother talked about working our his discipleship while driving in chaotic traffic. Another sister shared on how listening an intense prayer drew her to reconnect with her relationship with God. One more sister shared on how the holy communion or eucharist was a special moment. Lastly, a brother shared on how small he felt as he encountered different people and environments. All this … are ways in which we are called into "deeper water". There is a "catch", but the catch signifies abundance and fulfillment. 🙂
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These Harmonics vibrated from August 21 – August 22, 2008