Washing and drying dishes became a game with my kids. I had five kids and when we sat down for a meal, they would check out what was on the table and then I would hear, “I claim plates,” or “I claim forks.” At the end of drying the dishes, they would wad up their wet dishtowels and we would play basketball trying to hit the sink. Washing dishes was fun. We do the laundry because we like to wear clean clothes. We weed our gardens. We take our cars in when they need servicing. So WHY do we run from confession? Why let our souls be soiled, run down, and full of weeds?
King David was confronted by his prophet Nathan about committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hitte, one of his loyal soldiers. He wrote Psalm 51 that has become a model for confession. Lent is a time when we clean out the closet and deal with the crud in our souls.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51: 1-3, 10-12)
Lent is a time when we commit to spending some time in confession. We sit quietly and allow God to show us where we have you fallen, times we have been selfish or when we have turned to the kingdom of this world for security rather than God. We confess that we do not want to be crippled by fear, shame, greed or pride. Let us take time now to allow the Holy Spirit to shine his flash light on us and confess any sin that comes to mind.
The Book of Common Worship has a beautiful prayer that can be a model:
“Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, Too real to hide,And too deep to undo.Forgive what our lips tremble to name, What our hearts can no longer bear,And what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.Set us free from a past that we cannot change;Open to us a future in which we can be changed;And grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, Through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.” (From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88)