“Confession: What do you need to confess?”
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike Tyo
March 14, 2021
4th Sunday of Lent
Welcome to Adams and Sulphur Springs UMC, I am Pastor Missy. Thank you for joining us. If you would like to join Bible Study or a small group, please message us. Please comment with how many are watching if you are joining virtually. Light a candle to join the community wherever you are at.
Mike Tyo Original Work
God welcomes us to pour out our praise and prayers as the Word of God and the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit is poured out on us in this place.
Loving and forgiving God, we recognize our own need for forgiveness. We recognize that we as human beings and as a church have added to the hurt in our world, and we long to make things right again. Teach us to ask forgiveness for our misdeeds and to seek out ways to be more forgiving. Make us into the models of forgiveness that you intend us to be. Amen.
Scripture: (1 John 1:5-9 read by Vonnie Joels)
1 John 1:5-9
Children’s Moment: (Muddy shoes)
Have you ever gotten muddy shoes and ran inside forgetting to take them off? What happens? Have you ever lied about it or not admitted it was you? We all do things that aren’t right sometimes. That is what John is talking about with everyone sinning. We all do it – we make mistakes, sometimes we do things on purpose, sometimes on accident.
When this happens though we can do some things to make it right. First we listen to the Holy Spirit. We know the feeling when we do something wrong that feels yucky, guilty or just not so great. Second we say we are sorry and apologize for it. Third ask for forgiveness. If you hurt your relationship with someone you have to admit to what you did. Fourth we make it right. If you wore your muddy shoes inside you clean up the floor – you have to do something to make it right. Finally, you learn and grow. Jesus already meets you and forgives you because he went to the cross and rose up on Easter, you don’t need to keep feeling bad. It still means we need to learn from our mistake and help fix it, but Jesus has us.
So this week when you make a mistake, hold up your hand and ask yourself if you can do those five things: 1.Listen to the Spirit, 2. Say we are sorry, 3. Ask for forgiveness, 4. Make it right, 5. Learn and grow. Let’s pray.
Reflection: “Confession: What do you need to confess?”
It is funny, few things make people squirm quite as much as the idea of confession. Usually, they are quite relieved that in the United Methodist church we have corporate confession, and no one has to confess to a person. Yet, even corporate confession makes us uncomfortable. We don’t like taking that look in the mirror and seeing where we can “learn and grow” that I just talked to the kids about. That confessing what we have done something wrong either individually or as a community is really hard. The thing is – we all do it. John is reminding the community that everyone has sin- if you say you have never sinned you are lying, and God is not in you. There is no wiggle room in that statement. It is just not possible. God’s word is in us, it is the light that shines in the dark places when we mess us and helps us to see it. Sometimes we miss it, and we need other people to help us see. Sometimes we need help seeing when we have messed up as communities or put policies in place that hurt others. Then we work to change them and make it better. That is what we are called to do – be honest and own up to it.
It sounds so easy – until we have to do it. Then it is so hard to look into the light …. Take a look into that mirror that is Christ and see where we are missing the mark. We do that in several different ways. In our lives sin is – missing the mark, willfully turning away from God and choosing ourselves over God. We also do this as communities and institutions. We commit sins of omission – we leave things undone that God expects us to do – taking care of the widows, the poor, the orphans. We do it through sins of commission – killing, robbing, harming, ect. We also do it through community (corporate sins) by setting up structures that systemically and systematically hurt the poor, the widows, orphans, ect and put those who aren’t those things at the center of the communities.
So, pretty much every day we have ways that we put ourselves before God either as individuals or as members of communities – often times we don’t even realize what we are doing these things or how we are contributing to oppression of the very folks we are supposed to be helping. When we are caught up in the day we are so busy we forget to stop and think about. So what do we do? Confession.
Confession, helps us to examine ourselves and the structures around us. It helps us to ask God into our lives to make changes. Confession is the very tool we invite God in with, to mold and shape us – to transform our lives. If we don’t confess where we need God, we leave no space for God to work. Confession should be a part of your prayers every day. In Mark 11:25 Jesus tells his disciples that when they pray if they are even holding anything against another person, they should forgive them so the Father in heaven may forgive them their sins as well.