It's funny how your thinking can change and evolve somewhat with time. I guess because of that solid "Wesleyan Armenian" upbringing, I've always squirmed a little uncomfortably during our liturgical Communion services (Word and Table) since ministering in the United Methodist Church. Not that I meant to be pious or anything, but there were times that it irked me to have to pray the Confession along with others, before partaking of the Eucharist. Was I supposed to have anything to confess? Had I not loved God with my whole heart? Had I not loved my neighbors? Had I failed to be obedient? And if I had, shouldn't I just privately repent and move on? MAYBE.
Something was just different this morning. I don't know what, exactly. I think I just came to realize that while my life is to be one of a victorious overcomer, there are just so many shortcomings and failings that I MUST HAVE the mercy of God to cover. And in the particular Confession prayed today, I had to admit to myself (yes, while somewhat aware of the brothers and sisters sitting around me), that we as a Congregation needed to pray that prayer. For it was a collective prayer of Confession as a congregation. We have fallen short. We need God's mercy. And the beautiful thing is, His mercies are new every morning. There is fresh hope, fresh forgiveness, and fresh grace for the day that I face tomorrow. And speaking of tomorrow, it will be our first day of this new school year. I have opted for the Abeka program (for this year at least) for Lauren and Cameron, and will begin the K12 program with Sophie. She's only four, but she's ready, too. So I will need God's help in a special way. How could I do this without Him?
Abandoning all piety and embracing humility, I throw myself on the mercies of God.
Today's prayer of Confession and Pardon:
we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience, (I love that part!)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hear the Good News:
Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;
that proves God's love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Let us offer one another signs of reconciliation and love.
As forgiven and reconciled people,
let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God.