Sunday, May 15, 2011

Confessions

It's been a strange few weeks since Easter. Jacob's Well flooded (no, the irony is not lost on us), and the space is unusable for at least a month. My laptop has been broken for a few weeks, which is quite disorienting considering how often I usually use it. I participated in our denominational general assembly and the Regent pastor's conference, so I've been with a whole bunch of pastors and other church-y people, where I have felt both a sense of belonging and a sense of distance and disconnect. Friends are going through difficult times, and it's hard to know how to help, and to be present in the midst of their pain. And what has brought more grief than I would have expected was the death of our pet hedgehog last Sunday, after only a month of having him in our house.

It is still the Easter season, and I am looking for signs of life and hope, a good discipline especially when times are hard. There is life. There is green outside, and inside too, as Kat has been growing all sorts of plants for our garden. I can find things to be thankful for.

But in this generally raw and challenging time, when I feel weak and tired, confession is what flows most easily. I've been trying to write down some confessions, since the same old sins crop up over and over. I thought I'd share one I've been working on and adding to for a while now. Some of the ideas are shamelessly plagiarized from Dorothy Day and Shane Claiborne.


Lord,

For the times when I am overly impressed with myself,
imagining the biographies that will be written about me,
forgive me.

For the times when I am less gracious with myself than you are,
sinking into the ugly pit of self pity,
forgive me.

(For generally thinking too much about myself,
forgive me!)

For the days when you call me to be generous with my time and instead I am stingy,
hiding my laziness behind excuses like "taking care of myself,"
forgive me.

For the days when you call me to rest and be alone and instead I work,
hiding my compulsive "need to be needed" behind excuses like "this can't wait,"
forgive me.

When I let my impatience with the Church in the West harden into bitterness
instead of driving me to prayer and confession,
forgive me.

When I overexaggerate my own poverty,
and when I underestimate the challenges faced by wealthy Christians,
forgive me.

When I overestimate my spiritual strength,
and when I fail to let You shine through my weaknesses and vulnerabilities,
forgive me.

When I say beautiful things about kindness and grace to those on the margins,
but fail to show kindness and grace in my own home,
forgive me.

When I mentally compete with other pastors, non-profits, or communities,
focusing on where we differ rather than on how we fit together in the Body,
forgive me.

When I fail to mourn with those mourn,
but instead find secret reassurance that I'm not the only one with problems,
forgive me.

And above all,
when I lose hope in your kingdom,
when I lack faith in your power to do miraculous things,
(or when I try to dictate what those things should be
and exactly when and how they should happen,)
forgive me.

Teach me to wait in active hope for Your kingdom to transform the world.
Teach me to wait in active hope for Your kingdom to transform me.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hey Beth,

I appreciated reading through this blog post of yours.

It's important to be able to balance out siting with people and being present in their pain, that speaks volumes especially when we say nothing at all. Job had many friends who thought they knew best and they were not even close to knowing exactly what Job was going through but drew wrong conclusions. Only one friend was capable of inspiring Job to keep looking to God in the midst of his own pain.

What do you mean by active hope?

What does active hope look like to you?

I think it is equally important to bring heaven to earth. What do we do to make room for Gods Kingdom to interven in our lives and those around us? And would you say that is in part "active hope" ?