Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Still Thinking About Confession

Return of the Prodigal Son
Rembrandt Posted by Hello

If we are really to be known and loved by others as we truly are, we cannot gloss over the ugly parts of our fallen humanity. This is one of many reasons that members of the Christian community confess their sins to one another: when baptized people exercise their priesthood by speaking prophetic words of correction and tender words of redemption to one another, we shine the light of God’s love and acceptance into the dark places of our lives. In forgiving one another the sins we commit against each other and the community at large, we absorb the brokenness of our sinful humanity in the name of Christ. This is not an easy or glamorous task. It rarely feels warm and fuzzy. But it is a necessary part of redemption, for reconciliation is God’s fervent desire for his people.
- Me, from "Superpowers: On the Holy Spirit in Community." The whole thing is here.

"God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother's is sure."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p.23

Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
. . .
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Ephesians 4

No comments: