8/29/2004

Confession

Church this morning was really comfortable, if that's not too strange a word to use. I love the liturgy and some days I just get completely immersed in the flow of things. This morning I particularly felt this way during the confession of sin. It's said every week, right after the prayers of the people and before the peace.

In the liturgical sense it's a final act of preparation before the offertory which precedes the Eucharist. Most people think the ofertory is all about money, but in the grander sense it's all about the giving of ourselves to God. Before we can do that, it really helps to acknowledge how we fall short of perfection.

Here's the confession from Rite II of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.

A Confession of Sin is said here if it has not been said earlier. On occasion, the Confession may be omitted.

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.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

The Priest stands and says

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.


On any day this strikes me as beautiful, but today it struck me even more deeply than that. I am always amazed at the words

by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.


...acknowledging that failing to act can be just as big a fault as acting wrongly.

Beautiful stuff. No wonder those postmoderns are after our liturgy :-)

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