Writing a Prayer of Confession

It is not often that I confess in writing. Most often, I confess verbally.

There is something different about putting your sins down on paper. Seeing the words on the page makes them more tangible and seem more ugly. The sheet of paper is filled up with things of which I am not proud in my life. Yet, it is also cleansing. There is something powerful in naming the places where I have messed up and am in need of God’s grace.

I have written a prayer of confession on Ash Wednesday for thirteen years. Sometimes, it seems, that I find myself writing some of the same things from year to year. All too often, I seem to cling unintentionally to some of the thoughts, words, and actions which separate me from God and other people. There are areas where God has been at work to help me make progress and there are new areas which I have not found necessary to confess in years past. All of this is part of the journey of going on toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

Each of the years that I have written my prayers in this way, I have also had the opportunity to place them in a fire to be burned. This is a cleansing ritual and helps me begin the journey toward Easter. I am so glad to be on this journey again.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Repent and believe the gospel.

Raking Leaves and the Spiritual Life

I enjoy taking care of our yard. It is good for my soul.

Last fall, I did not have a chance to get in a final raking as the snow fell early and stayed on through most of the winter. This meant that we were left with a mess of wet and matted leaves to take care of this spring. I was outside raking and saw different results. Where there were thick leaves some of the grass had died and in other locations the grass was not as full and thick in coverage. A good raking cleared out the leaves as well as dead grass that had built up. This let air in and more importantly let the grass see the sun.

The grass is like our spiritual life.

There are places in my soul that are covered and matted down and not able to get the sustenance that is needed. These are the areas in my life where there continues to be sin. Confession and reconciliation clears away the sin, some of the effects of sin and more importantly lets my soul see the Son.

Confession via Phoneline to the Lord?

While listening to a podcast of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! this week, I heard of the true story of a phone confessional that gives you the following options:

  • For advice on confessing, press one.
  • To confess, press two.
  • To listen to some confessions, press three.

As a United Methodist, I believe that confession, both individual and communal, is an important part of our Christian life. However, this just doesn’t make sense to me. I am particularly incredulous at the option to listen to someone else’s confession. Listening to confession without a relationship in community seems like religious voyeurism.

You can read more at: ‘Please leave your confession after the beep’: Fury of French bishops over 30p-a-minute phone line for sinning Catholics