Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent 2021 - Confession (Anderson)

March 25 – Pastor Anderson

When we go through corporate confession on Sunday mornings, what goes through your mind? Are you thinking about the words that we are saying or just parroting them back like some penitential robot? When we say that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone, are you thinking of specific instances or is your mind considering what you’re having for lunch afterwards? Our minds are prone to wander during confession.

            I think we do this because confession makes us feel bad. We know that we are sinners, but we don’t like being reminded of that fact too often. Let’s just skip over this downer and get to the happy-feel-good stuff of the Gospel. Now, I’m not suggesting that we should wallow in confession, but we should appreciate what a gift this is. God could just strike us down for the evil things we have done, but He doesn’t. Instead, He offers this gift of confession so that we may hear His words of absolution.

            Lutherans do a really poor job of embracing this gift of confession and absolution. I think this is a reaction to the Catholic process of confessional booths, satisfactions, and incessant praying of the Rosary and the Our Father. Thus, when Lutherans sin, we remind ourselves that the Gospel is given to sinners, and that’s it. The previous statement is true, but it is beneficial to actually voice the sins that we have committed.

            To that end, the practice of private confession and absolution exists. I don’t know how many of you have ever availed yourself of this gift, but you should. The opportunity to go privately to your pastor and confess specific sins that are burdening your conscience, and then receive his words as the very forgiveness of Jesus…there is nothing else like it. The Gospel is spoken specifically to you and your failures. Private confession and absolution should make a comeback in the Lutheran church, so please use this gift as often as you are able.

            Sometimes people are afraid of confession because they think they will receive the Lord’s judgment. “Nobody would respect me if they found out that I did _____.” “My pastor would shun me if he found out that I did _______.” Not true. There is no sin that Christ will not forgive except the sin of unbelief. Those who despise His gift of confession and absolution will find no forgiveness of the Last Day. However, to all those who come with humble and repentant hearts, they find a God who covers over their sins with the word of the pastor: “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I therefore forgive you all of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

God forgives the sins of all who repent, and you are only able to repent by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Thank God that He has shown you your sin, that He has given you the opportunity to confess it, and that He forgives it so freely.

March 26
Read Mark 12

March 27 & 28
Read Sunday’s Lectionary Readings and attend Divine Service

Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm 118:19-29
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 14:1 – 15:47
John 12:20-43