Rite of Confession: For Whom?

Episcopal monk Martin Smith writes,

I may be so overwhealmed with grief and shame over some serious lapse that I feel too alienated from God and my fellow Christians to take part in worship – thus I am cut off even from the general absolution given there. Someone else may find that the sheer familiarity of general confession and absolution after years of repetition has muffled its impact, so that when he experiences the need for renewal of relationship with God something more is needed. For one person the problem might be one of healing: how is she to use God’s grace to change a sinful tendancy? She needs practical advice about how to seek changes in her life, which only a priest sensitive to the trouble through hearing her confession could give. Yet another may be drawn by a powerful need to unburden himself of the sin which weighs on his conscience, and discharge the oppressive sense of guilty secrets bottled up inside. Only the act of bringing everthing out into the full light of day in the presence of another will suffice to bring release and relief, the assurance of really handing over sin to God. – Martin Smith. Reconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church.

There are so many people today who feel that they would love to experience God and Christian community, but they just can’t bring themselves to enter the door of a church and be around actual Christians. I’m really┬áwondering if part of the problem is the need to experience this kind of healing love.

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