For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.Romans 3:23-24
First things first: “Happy May Day!” Somehow we have already blown through the first third of 2023. So, and especially for those of you who like new beginnings, here we go with another new month and a chance to set all things right in the world!
I believe a great place to start is with something that worked its way into my soul during worship yesterday at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church. It was a dark, rainy morning here in Raleigh, and walking into worship immediately invited a bright light into my day.
Why “Confession” is important:
Rather than talk about the sermon, I want to turn our attention to a less celebrated element of worship, the confession.
Many faith traditions skip confession entirely, but I have long felt a holy affirmation when I participate thoughtfully. Then yesterday I was prompted to think about corporate confession in a way that dovetails with one of my core beliefs about humanity.
Regular readers have heard me say this time and again: I believe we are all wrong at least half the time – me in particular. But we live in this cultural… political… religious moment where people seem to be obsessed with being right; not just that, but obsessed with the other guy being wrong!
By having a liturgy of confession (followed by silent personal confession) close to the beginning of the service, we consciously enter worship as people who stand equally in need of forgiveness, and humility, and the mercy of God.
Pastor Mac put it well: “In a world of ‘I’m right,'” (I’m paraphrasing) “confession reminds us that we are all wrong.”
This puts us all on equal footing.
It's me, it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer; It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer.
It’s ME O Lord!
I was thinking about this the other day, when Rebekah and I were talking about how much effort so many “Christians” put into excluding, condemning, judging, restricting, and otherwise insisting that God endorses their cultural (and political) passions, proclivities, and prejudices.
Meanwhile, Jesus himself stands at the door and declares that we all fall short of the glory of God, and that we are all welcome because we are covered by his grace and wrapped up in his love.
I like that; I believe it’s a good place to conclude today’s post – DEREK
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