By James A. Cress
Keeping the quarterly Communion service fresh and inspiring is a continuing challenge for pastors everywhere. Here’s an idea from Pastor Peter Bath that might enrich your next celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It’s a responsive confessional that you might adapt for your local situation:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.
By what we have done and what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole hearts.
Nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and humbly repent.
We confess that we have taken other gods before You.
The gods of power, wealth, and pride have been worshipped as we spend our time and energies seeking them, making us indifferent to the suffering of others here and around the world. The hungry, the homeless, the orphaned—we have not loved as we ought. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have let graven images into our lives that do not speak of Your love or power.
Lord, we have surrounded ourselves with images of power and security. We worry more about retirement portfolios or savings accounts than we do living through Your grace. We rely upon strength and stuff, not on Your love and grace. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have taken Your name in vain.
Our lives do not always reflect Your will or Your character. The focus of our desire is not Your glory, but our own egos. We carry Your name but live under an alias. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have not lived to honor You as our Creator, giving full voice to the meaning of Sabbath.
We care for Your created dominion as it is convenient for us. Too often, our life-style is more important than Your Lordship. As You call us to care for the strangers within our gates, we confess that we are unaware of the strangers in our church, homes, neighborhoods, or cities. Yet You call us to care. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have not always honored the mature, the wise, and the parents entrusted to us.
Forgive us, Lord, for the phone calls we don’t make, the visits we keep putting off, the cards we don’t send, the hugs we forget to give, the honor we deny. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have oppressed, denied, and taken life.
Lord, we have slain others with our words and thoughts, and we have oppressed through our greed and ignorance of other’s needs. We have denied life its full potential through politics and power, through selfishness and self-centeredness. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have been unfaithful to our vows of fidelity, spiritually and relationally.
Our wandering eyes and unfulfilled desires often control our passions. Our affections are squandered on the illicit, to our shame and sorrow. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we have taken what is not ours.
Forgive us, Lord, for the time we steal from those we love, the affections we deny our spouse, children, parents, friends, and neighbors. We confess that we do not give to others the way You have given to us. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we bear false witness through our lives and our words.
Lord, the evidence of our lives betrays the struggles of being faithful and consistent witnesses to Your love and power. How easy it is to turn away from need, to deny the opportunity to love or serve. Forgive us, Lord.
We confess that we struggle with envy and jealousy.
What we want seems more important to us than what we need, interrupting the flow of Your grace and gifts. Help us be satisfied with what You give us as our true desire. Forgive, us, Lord.
0 Lord, hear our words of confession.
Forgive us, Lord, for we have sinned against You. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us for all we have done. Grant Lord that we may live in the newness of life offered through Jesus, that we might serve You and please You to the honor and glory of Your name. This we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
James A. Cress is secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association. Reprinted with permission from More Common Sense Ministry, p. 32. This resource is available through the General Conference Ministerial Resource Center. Better Sermons © 2005-2008. Click here for usage guidelines.