Things done, and things left undone
Every Sunday, we do "prayers of the people" at church. We pray for our church, our community and the world. We pray for the sick, the lost and those in darkness.
The last thing we do is a prayer of confession. After a moment of silent confession, we say these words aloud...
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
The past few weeks, there has been one phrase that has literally brought me to my knees. "By what we have done, and by what we have left undone."
It's been a hard few weeks. There's nothing "wrong," it's just been a season of dark mixed with light. Love has swirled in my heart with sadness. Resentment has bumped up against gratefulness.
My imperfections have been on display. And those words of confession have felt so heavy. So as I have said the words "Most merciful God," I have found myself sinking to my knees. There is something clumsy and awkward about kneeling. It's uncomfortable.
Today, as I leaned my forehead against the smooth wood, I found myself needing more time. To confess the things I've said, and the times I haven't spoken up. To confess harsh words and harsher thoughts. To confess the anger I've felt and the love I've hoarded.
Just as my knees began to ache, as my sins pinned me to the carpet, our pastor stood before us.
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
I stood up awkwardly. That's how confession is, isn't it? Awkward and clumsy. Aching knees. Aching heart. But a little bit lighter. Hands open. Receiving mercy. Forgiveness. Strength.