During a recent Morning Prayer service at the Bishops Close I noticed the several opportunities within the service for a review of one’s life and for confession. This is good for the soul, and the Church is one of the few places where we are gifted with a chance to review our lives, to confess our failings, and to ask for forgiveness.
As the Church approaches Palm Sunday with all of its pageantry, it is a good moment to reflect, to confess, and to seek God’s forgiveness. We often have occasion during Sunday morning to confess in a corporate way, yet when I began in the Episcopal Church so many years ago, I remember the priest announcing to the congregation the dates and times available for private confession. A special point was made of being available for this sacramental act just before Holy Week and Easter, and I know that in some of our congregations in Oregon this is an honored tradition. I also know that most in the Church have never experienced this sacrament. If you look it up in the Book of Common Prayer it is found on page 447 and is known as The Reconciliation of a Penitent. The material on the facing page (446) is helpful to explain the rite and its use. It might be good this Sunday to arrive at church early and spend time with this material. It could cause you to consider a private confession or simply make your participation in Sunday’s corporate worship more holy and profound.
I am looking forward to Holy Week this year, to the Renewal of Vows in both Portland and Eugene and, of course, to the celebration of Easter. I pray you are blessed during this holy time.