[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e08dBbEXtFM&w=500&h=350] [A song for reflection on this Repentance Thursday, sung by me.]
About a month and a half ago, when we were in the thick of chronicling the finer points of the JTN manifesto, we explored the need to examine the violence in our own hearts and lives in this journey toward nonviolence.
I truly believe this is essential.
- Reckoning with our own frailties and failings keeps us in touch with our humanity.
- It keeps us on equal footing with our common man, no better or worse than our brothers or sisters in this world.
- It increases our capacity for compassion.
Ultimately, it reminds us that we cannot hope to be part of the solution if we aren't willing to acknowledge our contribution to the problem.
Change begins with us.
At the time we originally explored this, I mentioned a recurring feature coming soon to this blog called Repentance Thursdays.
Now, here it is.
What is it?
- A safe place to acknowledge our own violences of heart and deed over the previous month.
- A place purification begins each month anew.
- An opportunity to receive forgiveness from God, others, or ourselves.
- A chance to do it together.
How does it work?
The first Thursday of every month will be deemed a Repentance Thursday.
On that day, we will be invited to reflect on our actions and the interior movements of our hearts over the previous month.
- Into what dark mires did our hearts traverse?
- In what ways did we bring harm to our fellow man, either in thought, word, or deed?
- How did we sin against God?
After reflecting on these things, we will be given an opportunity for confession.
The comments section is available for this purpose.
The public nature of this practice is rooted in the idea that confession -- to both God and man -- heals us:
"A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark, but in the presence of a brother the sin has to be brought into the light."
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Please note that this ongoing ritual is not meant -- in any way -- to dispense humiliation. It is not a place for judgment, either. It's not a place to take delight in learning each other's dirty laundry.
It is a place for us to practice our own repentance.
It is a place to encounter the healing gifts of confession and forgiveness, as well as to discover the solidarity of our shared humanity.
To that end, any comments judging or disparaging another's confession will not be tolerated and will be removed.
And so now, I would invite you to reflect on the state of your heart. Feel free to listen to the song posted above in your moments of reflection.
And then, in the comments section, I would invite you to bring your confession.
- You are welcome to leave your confession anonymously.
- You are welcome to make up an e-mail address (since the comment section requires you to leave one).
- You are welcome to be as general or specific as you want.
- You are welcome to write your confession as prayer.
- And remember: any judging or disparaging comments of another's confession will be removed.
It is my hope that you'll find safety in this place to offer and regain your own humanity. Thank you for joining us.