Have you tried confession in the Episcopal Church? How did it go? In the new Forward Today, Scott suggests giving it a try this Lent–and predicts you’ll be glad you did.
Dear friends in Christ,
Confession is good for the soul. Holding on to things is never good for us, and that applies all the more to our sins.
Lent is just around the corner. Here we have a whole season devoted to returning to God, recommitting to following Jesus. Sometimes we take on new practices such as prayer or service. Sometimes people give up things that might be barriers to following Jesus. The point of giving up TV isn’t to punish ourselves, but to free up time for relationships with God and others.
In some quarters, Lent has been a traditional time for confession. I don’t mean casual conversation with others, where I own up to what we’ve done wrong. And I don’t mean a focus on the general confession that we say in Holy Eucharist. No, this is harder. The sacrament of reconciliation, often called confession, calls us to name all those things we have done wrong. And then, in a moment of amazing grace, our forgiveness is announced. The slate is wiped clean.
Lots of people resist confession for lots of reasons. Saying our sins can be embarrassing. But not saying them is worse. What if the priest doesn’t keep confidence? Don’t worry about that; the priest will guard your words until death. Why should we depend on a person to hear our sins, can’t we just say them to God? You’re not depending on a person any more than Holy Eucharist depends on wheat farmers. The bread in Eucharist is a vehicle of grace, and the priest in confession is also a vehicle of grace. No more, no less.
If you haven’t tried making a confession yet, give it a try. Any priest would be happy to talk with you about this. Though it’s not yet Lent, I’m writing about confession, because if it’s your first one, it takes some preparation. I promise that if you make confession this Lent, you’ll be glad you did. Forward Movement has a wonderful new book to teach us about confession and how to prepare for it. You can also talk with others. But whatever you do, consider the sacrament of reconciliation. Confession is good for the soul.
If you’re curious about confession, Joy in Confession by Hillary D. Raining is a great place to start. It combines art therapy, scholarship, theology, and worship to create a powerful experience for learning about confession in the Episcopal Church.
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