Dear Christ Church,
“Confession is discipleship.” This little sentence appears in one of my top ten books on the Christian life, Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Every single one of us knows the weight of guilt, the heavy heart, or the dull sense of frustration with our failure to live up to our own ideals, the beauty, truth, and goodness for which we were made. It is commonplace in Christian community to admit the importance of confession of our sins to God; we do it every week together in worship. It’s less common to practice confession of sins to another human being.
Confession is healing. James encourages us, in his epistle, to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” There is something curative about bringing from darkness into light, speaking them out loud in the gracious company of another. To whom should you confess? Any brother or sister may hear your confession. However, there is also power in periodically making confession with a priest, following the rite of reconciliation in the Book of Common Prayer. Priests are committed to confidentiality, and may serve as the presence of Christ speaking aloud your forgiveness and the mercies of God that will set you free. Who should make confession? The 16th century Anglican theologian Richard Hooker answers succinctly, “All may, some should, none must.”
More words of wisdom from Bonhoeffer:
“The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers [and sisters], as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner . . . Christ became our Brother in the flesh in order that we might believe in him. In him the love of God came to the sinner.”
The priests of Christ Church are available to meet with you for confession. You can reach out to Kristie and she can coordinate this with/for you, or you can reach out directly to one of the priests: me, Matt+ Dampier, Herb+ Bailey, Bill+ Walker, Steve+ Pope, and +Brian Wallace.
Lastly, the Rite of Reconciliation concludes with a beautiful recognition of our common frailty and humanity as priests and the laity. The time of confession ends with the priest saying, “Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner.”
Pray for me, a sinner,
PS Here’s a good article on Confession in the Anglican tradition. And join us this Sunday in either service for the joy of baptisms!