Coming Clean


Last week I wrote about the sins one might want to confess in Private Confession. Mention was made of those sins that especially trouble us. Those sins in particular weigh us down. The weight is lifted when as penitent sinners we believe Christ’s promise to forgive. And audibly hearing that promise, repeatedly made, can help instill confidence in our Lord’s promises.

When you make confession to God in the presence of a Pastor, this is a time, not for making excuses, but for coming clean and clearly acknowledging that we have sinned. Details are not as important as honesty. For example, confessing that I have been unfaithful, untruthful, or unforgiving is to the point. Divulging a lot of information is not the point!

As your Pastor I like to use our Lutheran Book of Worship to frame the time for Private Confession. You can take a look at the rite on pages 196-7. It is called “Individual Confession And Forgiveness.”

In this rite I ask the one making confession (the penitent), “Are you prepared to make your confession.” The Pastor and the penitent are then able to recite parts of Psalm 51 and 103 together. Then the penitent begins his confession, “I confess before God that I am guilty of many sins. Especially I confess before you that …” And he ends, “For this I am sorry and I pray for forgiveness. I want to do better.”

The Pastor may engage in conversation and offer comfort from the Scripture, but the important part is when he says, “Do you believe that the word of forgiveness I speak to you comes from God himself?” “Yes, I believe,” is the hoped for reply. Then laying hands on the penitent the Pastor says, “God is merciful and blesses you. By the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I, a called and ordained servant of the Word, forgive you your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Since You Asked…

What is the significance of the Day of Pentecost?

A principal Festival, The Day of Pentecost (Jewish harvest festival) was the occasion when the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was sent and poured out on the expectant church. It accordingly marks the culmination of the Easter Season. It occurs 50 days after Easter Sunday. Jesus had promised his followers that when he departed from them (the ascension, not the crucifixion) that he would not leave them as orphans. In fact, until his return at the end of the age, it would be to their advantage that he was departing, for then he would send the Holy Spirit as one called alongside them to comfort them, teach them, guide them, and empower them, even as the Holy Spirit continued to sanctify them (to make holy).