Wednesday, November 27, 2013


In our daily prayer, my children and I share a time of confession. I usually have to confess having used a harsh and angry voice and not having rested adequately, but Oliver, for whom words are clumsy, jumps off of his chair and gives everyone a hug and cheerfully sings, "sah-wee!!"  

In the fourth chaper of Hebrews, the writer adopts a tone of voice he will probably have to apologize for. I can sense the weariness dripping off of his pen along with the gallons of ink spilt in this weighty missive. From the frustration clear his words, I think he must have felt like he was trying to herd beached whales. Like getting reluctant, rubber-legged toddlers to walk, he was exhorting, rationalizing, threatening and bribing them to just walk. Just put your legs down and stand (mutter, splutter, grind, gnash, steam). 

And what does the writer finally require, since Jesus knows what we are going through? To cling to confession. Confession, really?  How about action and doing and witness and love?  How about bearing fruit?  How about praise and worship and discipleship?  I think that the writer knew something of the beached whale mentality of the church. The writer knew that, while the church's deep calling is to love and serve, often we are immobilized by self-recrimination and doubt, and the cure is...more cow bell...wait, sorry...confession.

But often even the idea of confession is overwhelming. We sit paralyzed before the very one who aches to set us free because we fear to face our needs and shortcomings and sin. Our call is not be the Creator or Savior. We are merely asked to confess, and when we don't know the words, I know a very good place to start. 


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