On confession, trust, and community
ust this week, a member of the church and I met in my office. As our conversation was wrapping up, the member said in jest, "I have a confession to make...." then I joked about my office turning into a confessional, we laughed. Of course, as part of the Reformed Tradition, in the Presbyterian Church (USA) we don't see the need for a confessional, or intermediaries between us and God. We believe we have direct access to God; that God hears our prayers and when we confess our shortcomings to God, it is God's grace that enters in and we are forgiven. But I digress, later that evening, I began to think about confession, how it can make us feel vulnerable, but also how verbally confessing what is on our hearts and minds to someone we trust can offer us relief. It is in this same spirit that I write this entry, so here it goes:
It's no secret that I write often, but it's typically in response to something, as in a thank you note or with a purpose as in a letter. My sermons are guided by the Holy Spirit and a scripture passage or two, and even the editors with Presbyterian Publishing assign me the topic of my writing. And as I began to think about my contribution for this blog, it hit me, my confession, that is: I didn't know what to write about! Let me clarify, it's not that I couldn't think of anything to write about, in fact it's just the opposite, with so many things that can be or need to be written about, how was I supposed to choose?
Now, I'm normally not an anxious person, in fact my calming presence is one gift that has suited me well in ministry, and for that I am grateful. The blank screen; however, became a source of angst, and I asked myself over and over again, "What in the world am I going to write about?" By this point, you may be wondering the same thing, and that's okay. But what I realize about this writing process, and perhaps the same goes for our desire "to confess" things to one another, is that it helps others get to know us and build trust, and this is very important to relationship building.
When we are part of a community, like the church, we are called to be in authentic relationship with one another, in spite of all our differences. And in these relationships, there are times we feel secure in who we are, and there are times when we feel vulnerable. In many ways, society has taught us that vulnerability equates to weakness, but our faith tells us otherwise.
As Christians, we believe that we are created in the image of God, and included in that image is Christ. When God poured God-self into human form as the person of Christ, it wasn't to deny us of our humanity, but to affirm it. Christ showed us the importance of being in relationship with one another. He was human in every way we are, sharing his confidence as God's child and his vulnerability as he hung on the cross. So, as followers of Christ, why would we expect our lives to be any different?
With all of life's twists and turns, isn't it affirming to know that even and especially in our vulnerability, we are loved by God? With that love, comes grace, forgiveness, and God's infinite understanding of the complex nature of our humanity. Isn't it comforting to be part of the beloved community known as the church, who is called to practice the same?
In God's Grip,