Read: Psalm 38
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
I will readily admit that I am very much on the Anglo-Catholic end of the Episcopal spectrum. I’m happy with the bowing, sitting, kneeling, genuflecting, and standing parts of the pew aerobic routine that is Sunday worship. Holy water? Love it! Ash cross on Ash Wednesday? Let’s wear that baby out in public until it wears off! Stations of the Cross on Good Friday? Totally there. I have two Anglican rosaries because of a former rector who taught me about it and made one of them for me, and I am one of those people that needs something in my fingers to pay attention.
One of my favorite “Catholic” things is the rite of Reconciliation, commonly known as “Confession”. I am a convert to Christianity, and it took me years to believe that I was truly forgiven for things in my past. I dwell on my sins longer than I should and going through the rite once a year during Lent keeps me both mentally and spiritually healthy. (It was essential during the two years I went through my divorce because it helped me work through my part in things.) The feeling of hands on my head and the sign of the cross being made on my forehead is a tactile reminder that I am forgiven and that my sins do not define me.
For this reason, I identify with the psalmist today. I know the feeling of “my iniquities … weigh[ing] like a burden too heavy for me” (v.4), and “groan[ing] because of the tumult of my heart” (v.8). What I need to remember is that the Lord is faithful and will forgive my sins. I need the reminder that God will “make haste to help me” (v.22), and that Jesus died for my sins. It is why I kneel for the Confession of Sin during worship—it is a tactile reminder of humbling myself before God and confessing what I have done that has hurt and me and has hurt others. God forgives me… and will forgive you as well!
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen. (BCP, p. 360)