Saturday, October 4, 2008
Ecumenism at Work
Over the past few months, I have become a fan of the writings of Fr. Bosco Peters, an evangelically- and ecumenically-minded Anglican priest serving God in New Zealand. Our contact began when he commented on my blog and I in turn read and commented on his. Today as I was perusing all of my friends' status reports on Facebook, his report linked to a blog article about the Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches praying the same prayer (based on the original Latin) this Sunday. Read the whole blog post here.
When I checked my 1928 Book of Common Prayer, I did not find the same prayer as Fr. Peters mentions in his blog. But I really do like the Episcopal version of the prayer which I am copying here:
Almighty and everlasting God,you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
For me, confession of our sins is paramount in my Christian walk, and it is an aspect of Christianity not often stressed in the evangelical tradition. Confessing our sins together as a Christian community unites our hearts, helps us to build a spirit of humility, and also helps us to grow more like Christ Jesus our Lord. Public confession is one of the many aspects that attract me to the Anglo-Catholic tradition. At Lake Murray we have started to have a time of private confession before weekly Communion, and Pastor Stephen has been inviting us to pray sitting OR kneeling (definitely my preference, despite the pain and the trouble I have getting down and back up into the chair again). I'm grateful for this time to be on my knees in confession before our Lord before Communion.
So I rejoice in this happy circumstance in which Anglicans/Episcopalians and Roman Catholics pray the same prayer of confession. Just as confession brings our human heart together, thus restoring relationships, confession to God restores our relationship with our Lord. And doing so as a congregation can only bring unity, just as the prayers of confession by both Anglicans/Episcopalians and Catholics brings unity among Christians around the world in the physical and spiritual realms.