Sunday Mediation: We should make time for public confession

12 08 2013

Image

 

Yesterday in Sunday School we discussed Nehemiah 9, when all the exiles of Israel gathered for a public confession. I asked the Sunday school group if there were instances when our church community opportunities to confess our sins. Struggling to come up with examples, we decided that specific public confession isn’t necessary because we need our privacy and it’s difficult to trust others. It’s more appropriate to choose a few people that we can trust to confess our sins.

However, this answer didn’t sit well with me. If we cover sins in private, how can our community ever heal? For example, some women may suffer from domestic violence and unfortunately, I don’t hear people in church talking about it often (except well, when the preacher last week said that prayer can stop abusive spouses). What if, we gathered like the Israel and called out public sin? How fast would our communities heal then?

The worship service featured Dr. Lonise Bias, a nationally known motivational speaker. She spends her life working with women and children to battle mental health and live their lives to their full potential. In 1986, she lost her son to drug overdose. A mere four years later, her younger son was killed in a drive by shooting. In the sermon, she discussed the excruciating pain she endured in the following years. She remembers her own pain to decimate violence and drug use in our communities by starting nonprofit foundations and mentoring women.

Dr. Bias used a form of public confession in her sermon. She lamented: she explained how she laid in a hotel room screaming and crying a year after her son’s death. She prophesied: she warned us of the dangers of drug use. She expressed that after hearing her story, several people told her that they’ve stopped using or resisted the temptation to try cocaine. In a section of her sermon when she encouraged parents to be the primary influence of their children, she mentioned briefly that media that features violence against women affect our boys negatively (I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about violence against women in the pulpit in this way).

Dr. Bias was not general; she was very specific about the sin of drugs, gun violence and violence against women. She was specific about her lament. She didn’t hide behind spiritual generalities and trust that the congregation would just get it. We have to spend the time in public confession, and make the time to call our specific societal sins that affect us all so we can address them as a community and change the minds of our people.

Advertisements