“Confession Is Good For The Soul”
It seems that every day, God and I have this confessional wrestling match where the Holy Spirit convicts me of something. I am not right until I release whatever it might be into the heart of a merciful, forgiving, and gracious God. My most recent confession centered on reading scripture. In good Methodist fashion, I remembered that scripture is the primary source of theological authority according to the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. I am not sure John Wesley ever used the word “quadrilateral.” If my theological education serves me correctly, I believe the word was coined by American Methodist scholar Albert C. Outler, but enough of the theological rambling, and back to the juicy confession. (“Ain’t” confession theological? Yeah, I said, “ain’t.”)
I’d been invited to be the guest preacher for Sunday morning worship. I’d exegeted the tar out of the lectionary passage. In my usual fashion, I arrived at the church early enough to chat with the pastor before worship started. We spent a few minutes going over the order of worship; when we arrived at the scripture text for the sermon, the pastor asked if I would like to read it. I don’t know if he deferred to me because I was the DS, but I found his request interesting, because right after I answered “yes,” I noticed in the bulletin his name was down to read the passage. He went on to share with me how while growing up, reading was not one of his favorite things, but that reading the scripture aloud to the people of God made it come alive for him in extraordinary and spiritual ways.
My confession is I read the passage during worship. In my wrestling with God about this, three cherished memories came alive for me about scripture. My Grandma Gladys could neither read nor write, but she was the greatest theologian I have ever known. Her daughters would read scripture to her and she would remember it verbatim, calling it back to memory whenever she needed a word from the Lord. On her side of the master bathroom, my wife Priscilla posted notes of scripture all over the mirror. I don’t know how in the world she could see how to put on her makeup, but she always came out looking beautiful. I believe it was the word of God that made her more beautiful. While trying to discern what to do with the posted notes after her death, and my subsequent move, I decided to put most of them in a picture frame. Mrs. Margaret Graham, one my high school teachers, upon publication of her first novel, gifted me with a copy signed, “To my son in the Christian faith,“ I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among (in) you will bring it to completion by the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
It has been said, “Confession is good for the soul.” It has certainly been the case for me. In my confession, I’ve reclaimed a basic truth. Scripture is the living Word of God that comes alive in the narratives of our shared journey. In Marja Mills’ book, “The Mockingbird Next Door; Life with Harper Lee,” there is this very powerful quote from Harper Lee: “There’s a reason for the Southern tradition of storytelling. We are Celtic, and African.”
In spite of our often brutal history, most of that story is rooted in scripture. Maybe confession, pardon, and assurance will guide us home. It can’t be transformed until you put in the hands of the Lord.
Let It Go
I can’t live with this inside.
I’ll give it to God to decide.
Bold confession is good for
Pardon is affirmed in the
way I live each day.
Blessed assurance is always
By Leonard Fairley
In God’s Assurance,
If you would like to print or share this version of “Fair” for the Journey, you are encouraged to use this pdf: Confession is Good for the Soul – 09.15.2015