Grace and peace to you!
This week we entered into Lent, the 40 days, not counting Sundays, when we think about Jesus’ journey to the cross. Our Lent worship resource for this year reminds us that, “Confession is a central practice in the season of Lent. Confession is telling the truth. We confess what we have done, what we believe, what we feel, and what we fear. We confess our need for restoration. True confession is a deep dive, sometimes into truths we haven’t yet expressed or have a hard time bringing to the surface.”
This description of confession is so helpful. At times we so quickly move to thinking confession is just about naming the bad things, the sin, in our lives. And while it certainly includes that it is so much more. Confession, as it is described above, reminds us it’s about being honest about all that is happening within us. It’s about honestly naming our feelings and fears, our hopes and our dreams, the struggles and the truth of who we really are. It’s about uncovering all the things that when hidden within us and kept to ourselves sap life and energy from us. When we keep so much of who we are buried within it works on us and keeps us from living in the freedom of who we are and who God created us to be.
Psalm 32 speaks to the confession of sin but I believe the freedom and blessing it speaks of applies to any confession we make.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Too many things we carry within and keep to ourselves to the detriment of our health and the wellbeing of our soul. God invites us into relationships of trust where we can acknowledge and confess to him and to each other our truth. When confessed and named, our truth whatever it is, can be addressed in whatever way it needs to be so we can live in the new freedom of God’s love and grace.
Truly confession, in all its forms, is good for the soul!
Fasting is another central practice of Lent. Do you want to fast this Lent? Consider the words of Pope Francis and the prophet Isaiah.
In the words of Pope Francis:
• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
• Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
• Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
• Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
• Fast from worries and have trust in God.
• Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
• Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
• Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
• Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah:
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly;
Blessings to you on your journey with Jesus through Lent!
Pastor Ray and Pastor Tanya