March 30, 2019

March 30, 2019

March 30, 2019
by Glenna Manning

Psalm 32; Exodus 32:7-14; Luke 15:1-10

The old adage states “confession is good for the soul.”  But if this is true, why is confession so difficult?  Somehow it just seems easier to keep on denying the thing for which we need to confess, hoping that whatever it is will simply go away.  Yet no matter how deeply it is buried, it is always there and simply gets heavier as we keep lugging our need to confess along with us.  

I recall carrying the weight of a much needed confession when I was in middle school.  For my birthday, my mother gave me a beautiful pendant necklace.  The pendant was a clear glass globe, filled with a liquid in which tiny opals floated freely.  It was my first piece of “grown-up” jewelry and I thought it was so beautiful.  The gift, however, came with restrictions.  I was only to wear it for church and it was to be kept in my mother’s jewelry box for safekeeping.  

I grew tired of just wearing it to church and wanted to show the necklace to my friends at school.  One morning, I crept into my parent’s room, removed the necklace from the jewelry box, put it on hidden underneath my shirt and went to school.  Upon arriving at school I pulled it out so that it was on top of my shirt and proudly showed it to my friends.  All was well until I went to change clothes for PE class.  Forgetting I had on the necklace, I pulled off my shirt and snapped the chain, causing the pendant to crash to the floor.  The crystal shattered and the liquid and small opals came spilling out.  All that was left was the empty silver clasp that had held the crystal ball to the chain.   

I was devastated!  Not only had I carelessly broken the necklace I had been disobedient in the process.  I hated breaking the necklace, but even more so I hated disappointing my mother.  How would I ever confess my actions to her?  I didn’t!  Upon returning home from school, I crept back into my parent’s room, hid the broken chain in the bottom of the jewelry box and crept back out—foolishly thinking I had covered up my disobedience.   Yet the broken necklace and the shame associated with it were never far from my mind.  The disobedience weighed on my soul. 

Of course, the time came when my mother found the broken chain and I had to tell the story of how the necklace was broken.  It was so hard to own up to my mistake and admit my wayward behavior.  My mother patiently explained why the restrictions were in place – not for my harm—but for my own good.   It was a painful lesson for the necklace wasn’t replaced, and I will never forget the disappointment in my mother’s eyes for my disobedience.  However, I also learned how it felt to release a long-needed confession, to feel the power and sweet relief of forgiveness, and to experience a mother’s love that never failed. 

Unknown to me at the time, I realize I had learned what each of today’s Scripture passages teach us as we reorient and strengthen  our relationship with God in this season of Lent.  Acknowledgment of our need for confession, repentance, and forgiveness which will lead us to the same glad cries of deliverance the psalmist knew. In these Scriptures we are also reminded of a love that does not fail and will never stop seeking us despite our waywardness.  Yes indeed, confession is good for the soul!! 

Merciful and Grace-filled Lord, we return to you again aware of our own waywardness.  Please hear our regret, our cries of repentance, and our earnest pleas for your forgiveness.  We ask your grace and mercy upon us so that we may joyfully declare, “we were lost but now we are found.”  All praise and glory unto you! Amen.