I completed this Ink with Pen & Brush of the Rosemount, Minnesota Steeple Center last year. The city purchased the old St. Joseph’s Catholic Church building in 2004, then refurbished and opened in 2010 as Steeple Center for the community. I especially enjoyed the detail artwork of the building’s front elevation.
I chose it as the art piece for this week’s Thought—Confession—partly, because we often connect Confession with Church.
IN THIS BLOG I want to look at Confession as Acknowledgement in three parts: Pre-Confession, Confession and Post-Confession.
FIRST, A STORY FROM my childhood to illustrate: For my fourth and fifth grades, I lived with paternal grandparents in Bemis, Tennessee. It was a ‘company town’ owned by the Bemis Cotton Mill and provided modest housing as part of the employment compensation.
My uncle had returned from WWII with his army backpack and canteen now stored in my grandparents’ shed. I was allowed to play with them. The local woods, fields and stream were ideal for boys to play. One afternoon, after arriving home from playing, I realized I did not have the backpack or canteen. What happened to them? I searched the house and yard. Then it came to me: I must have left them by the water where we were playing. I ran back to the site and looked carefully. They were gone. What would I do? I would be in big trouble with my uncle Clayton.
That night I could not sleep. I had lost my uncle’s equipment from the war. I got up, went into the bedroom where my grandmother was sleeping. I whispered, “Grandma. Are you awake?” “Yes.” She responded. I got on my knees beside her bed and told her the whole story and how sorry I was that I had lost Uncle Clayton’s backpack and canteen and that I couldn’t sleep.
She assured me not to worry about it, and that my uncle Clayton would not be angry with me. I believed her, went to bed and slept. He was sad, but he was sad for me. He knew how much I enjoyed playing with it. He always considered he had given it to me to keep. He was not upset. It held no sentimental value to him. I never did know what happened to my army surplus stuff. But I learned a few lessons from that experience that have served well through these decades.
Here is how I break down this experience to my thoughts on ‘Confession as Acknowledgement’:
Observation: [What is your environment telling you–visual and auditory?] I could not find my uncle’s equipment when I returned home from play. It was gone.
Moderation: [Slow down, take time to ‘see & listen’ with understanding.] I had to stop my frantic searching and think of where I might look. Nearly everything else was on hold.
Consideration: [Check the map. Where were you headed? What destination?] My goal was to find the equipment so I could return it to my uncle whenever he asked for it.
[Acknowledge—agree—the error and ask for help]: There was no way to deny that the equipment was gone. I could lie and say someone stole it. That would be an even bigger conscience problem. No, I had to admit what happened: I lost the equipment. I had to ask for help, in this case, from my grandmother.
Expectation: [Trust the validity of your guide’s advice.] She assured me that it would all work out. Go to bed and sleep.
Recalibration: [Change your modius operandi—habits of working.] After that conversation, I stopped worrying about what was now out of my control and went right to sleep.
Celebration: [Reaching your destination, having learned lessons.] My goal was to please my uncle by being able to give him back his equipment. But I discovered it was mine. He even felt bad I didn’t have it to play with anymore. The burden of guilt is gone. It’s time for Celebration.
Without Confessing—acknowledging—our trespasses (sins), we are attempting to live our life under a burden we are not designed to carry. Acknowledge and Celebrate!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 Timothy 1:9