Honest Christianity – confessing too soon

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In a recent blog, we reflected upon the title and sentiment of a book, don’t forgive too soon. We have a few comments from people who resonated with this idea. This week we want to pick up a similar idea from our experiences of the Anglican Eucharistic liturgy.

In almost every service I take or sit in, we have the confession very near the beginning of the service. I understand liturgically that this can be seen as restoring humanity’s relationship with God so we are in a position to offer worthy worship. However, nearly every time this happens I have a pastoral concern for those who come into our worship feeling worthless or suffering from a low self-image or that they are not good enough to be in God’s presence. I am not saying I don’t believe in confession – I have done more than enough pastoral work to know that for some people there are issues they need to talk through and to share with someone else because they are eating away at them. I do wonder sometimes why saying the Lord’s prayer isn’t enough – we ask for forgiveness of sins in it and for me some form of absolution might fit better there. Most of my presiding is done in the context of a Children’s Hospital which I think heightens my sensitivity to how people may perceive liturgy.

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