Friday, May 21, 2010
Finally, I gave in and showed up at the Church on a Saturday during the hours my Pastor had scheduled to hear confession.I have a very similar story that I have told here before. Not long after Chaplain Mike reprinted an iMonk confession too much to quote in total, too good to ignore - please read it.
He was all business. He had me turn to page 310 in Lutheran Worship (also known as the Blue Hymnal) and we followed the service for individual confession. He didn’t seem shocked at my sins. I regurgitated all my sins and hatefulness and at the end of it all he placed his hands on my head and said “As a called and ordained servant of the Word, I forgive you all of your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Go in peace, your sins are forgiven.” For the first time in a long while a flicker of hope appeared.
I would like to be able to say that all my sins immediately went away and that Confession worked like magic. But that is not what happened.
As the oil of forgiveness and hope soaked into my wounds, some of my sins fell away quickly, others faded away over weeks and months, and some still remain. The weekly rhythm of confession and absolution, the application of the Gospel to me, in my sin, slowly started to rebuild my faith and hope. To see and hear the Gospel incarnated every week in my Pastor literally gave me my life back. If I had not been able to hear God’s forgiveness for me week after week, month after month, I would have given up attending worship and taking the Lord’s Supper a long time ago. The discouragement and defeat would have been too much to bear.
Those days were a long time ago. Looking back, it almost seems like another life. Man, those were some hard days. Thank God for the gift of His Word and faithful pastors who can bring it.
All this wonderful stuff and yet, as the guest poster Pat Kyle says:
Individual confession and absolution has almost entirely disappeared in modern protestantism and is unheard of in Evangelicalism. But is the individual confession of sins really so shocking?In my house there are some cracks in the wall. Every few years I have to break out the joint tape and compound and fix them. They look good for a bit and then they start to open up again. That's becasue the real problem is not the crack, its the sagging foundation - can't fix it without actually tearing the house down - scary and expensive proposition, particularly when it is relatively easy to fix the appearance.
Seems like we approach sin that way anymore. We clean it up but we do not deal with the real issue because its "too expensive." Problem though. My house's foundation will, absent a major earthquake, eventually cease to sag any further. Not so my life - it will sag all the way to hell.
Can we really afford to just plaster over the cracks in our lives?