In my duties as Associate Pastor in my congregation, I usually say the assurance of pardon after the unison prayer of confession in worship. Sometimes I'll use the one provided by the UCC's Worship Ways, especially if we're using that call to worship and prayer of confession. But often I just get up and say something. I usually don't have anything planned, and I usually feel anxious and then just glad it's over with. I wonder if I've sounded trite, or repetitive, or if I actually believe that it is because of Christ that we're offered such free forgiveness.
Monday, January 31, 2011
This was not the case yesterday. Yesterday's prayer of confession ended kind of oddly, with a question. Generally it goes from "we did all these things wrong" to an upswing of "help us to do better." Yesterday's prayer asked, "Can you forgive us once again?"
Stepping up to the lectern, still more worried about moving around the liturgist and deciding to relax and let Spirit take over, I simply started, "Yes." And then I repeated it. "Yes, and yes, and yes, God's answer is always yes. However many times we ask, 'Can you forgive us once again?' God's answer is yes. Amen."
However much I generally feel the need to push this congregation of privilege towards more action, more community-building, more taking on responsibility for caring for our neighbors, they also feel hurt and sorrow and regret and struggle with living God's love in their lives, and just as much as anyone else, need to hear about a God who says "Yes, you're forgiven. Yes, welcome back. Yes, we can begin again."
I think that was the first Sunday I've ever gotten a comment about my assurance of pardon.Sphere: Related Content