In the silence of my prayer, a persistent thought craves an audience: a catalogue of all the sins of my lifetime. I am no spring chicken: it's a long list. But this moment is for silent centering, not for confession. I promise that I will attend to the list, and continue on my inward way toward stillness.
But since it was such a persistent thought, and in view of the Lenten season, I have returned to it. I imagine myself holding up the line at the pearly gates, as St. Peter listens patiently to my dirty laundry list. But I also imagine a miracle there: item after soiled item turns sparkling clean as I pull it from my backpack to show him. It has all been taken care of.
To know we are forgiven doesn't mean we never think of the evil we have done, ever again. Doesn't mean we don't still regret it. Doesn't mean we wouldn't change it if we could.
I guess the main thing it does mean is that God has made our sins available to us as building blocks of something better next time. We've decided on the future, instead of lingering in the past and trying to fix it by ourselves, so nobody will ever see. We have freed up space and energy we used to spend hiding our faults from ourselves and -- in a futile project if ever there was one -- trying to hide them from God.
Many people make sacramental confessions during Lent, as we prepare for the welcome joy of Easter. The prayer at communion changes slightly, in these last weeks: You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts, the priests says, and some of us think that might not be a bad idea.
This Thursday, March 22 at 8pm Eastern time, a one-hour teleclass with Barbara Crafton: "A New Heaven and a New Earth."
Life pours blessings on us, but it also throws us the occasional curve ball, and we have no choice but to catch it if we want to stay in the game. What has your life taught you? It's guaranteed that you've learned more from the things that didn't go as planned than you ever learned from the slam dunks.
Join us for this session about the death of one hope and the birth of another, about where healing and renewal are to be found. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org.