THE GENERAL CONFESSION
In 1958 the Reformed Episcopal Church published a small book bearing the title, The Lord Is In His Holy Temple , with the subtitle, Studies In Morning Prayer . Every Sunday morning here at St. Andrew's we begin our worship with Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m., which is followed by Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m. This is a very traditional practice in Anglicanism. The first prayer that is prayed is the General Confession. With Lent approaching it would be well for us to consider the commentary on the General Confession from this study guide, which follows:
Look around you and see in how many ways you differ from the other members of your group. Yet there is one thing that can be said about all of you—you are all sinners. For all of us have sinned, falling far short of all God expects of us ( Rom. 3:10, 23; Eph. 2:1, 5). Not one of us has pleased Him by always acting, speaking and thinking as He would have us do (Isaiah 53:6).
How then, can we who are sinners come into the presence of a God who cannot be happy about our sins? How can He, who is so good, have anything to do with us even though we need Him?
Our Book of Common Prayer helps us to face this problem at the very beginning of our worship. The Exhortation on page 4 (p. 7 in currant BCP) urges us to acknowledge and confess our sins, and not try to hide them from the face of Almighty God. Just as a person with a sick body cannot seek healing if he does not know he is sick, so there is no help for our sin sick souls if we fail to realize the harmfulness of these sins.
Because of this, any proper worship must always begin with—not praise, not prayer, not a statement of our beliefs, but with confession. Thus did Old Testament worship begin (Num. 5:6; Isaiah 6:1-5). The New Testament continues to teach this principle (Matt. 3:6, Luke 18:13-14; I John 1:9). Throughout The Book of Common Prayer this necessary and biblical pattern is followed. Together, as minister and people, we confess our sins before God. This is why this confession is called “The General Confession.” It includes the whole body of worshipers, forcefully reminding us that we can have no peace with God until something has been done about our sins (Isaiah 57:21).
This Confession, you will note, is very specific in defining sin. Like the action of the stupid sheep, who think they can make their way apart from the shepherd's care and guidance, sin basically is wanting what we want instead of what God wants—“following too much the devices and desires of our own hearts'—selfishness, pride, and greed (Gen. 3:1-7; Ps. 119:176). Out of this basic “me first” sinfulness, seen even in the smallest child, comes all the other more obvious sins which God's holy law prohibits—all ungodliness, disobedience to our parents, jealousy, hatred and murder, filthy thoughts and actions, covetousness and gossip and slander as well as stealing. The Confession also reminds us that sin is not only wrong-doing; it is also sin when we neglect to do what is right (Rom. 7:19; James 4:17).
Because our hearts and wills and minds are so infected with sin, our only basis for expecting God to do anything for us is His mercy (Ps. 31:16; Eph. 2:4-9). We confess our faults to Him even as we read the words of this Confession. We must think of the past week and all the ways in which we have hurt God, others, and ourselves by our sins and we tell God we are sorry for what we have done.
The test of true sorrow for sin is in our willingness to stop sinning, using God's help to stop those thoughts, words and deeds which displease Him. The proof of our sincerity is not merely in admitting our sinfulness, but in being sorry enough to stop sinning. We conclude this Confession by saying “grant that we may hereafter live a godly life.” Then we wait to hear our minister, as God's servant, declare what God will do for those who come in this way.
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY
Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA has designated the last Sunday after Epiphany as World Mission Sunday. Donations to The Anglican Relief and Development Fund are encouraged. Checks may be sent to ARDF, P.O. Box 3830, Pittsburgh , PA 15230-3830 . We will be observing World Mission Sunday on February 10th .
WOMEN'S GUILD BAKE SALE
2nd Sunday, February 10th , after church
Mission Profits go to the Crisis Center of South Suburbia.
LENTEN SERVICES & SOUP SUPPERS
Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 13th
Soup Supper 6:30 p.m. Service 7:30 p.m.
106th SYNOD of the DIOCESE of MID-AMERICA
Feb. 21, 22, 2013 at St. Mathias, Katy , Texas
March 9, 2013 starting at 9:00 a.m.
Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013
Good Friday, March 29, 2013 Service at 7:30 p.m.
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013
Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast at 9:00 a.m.
Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m.
ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
April 14, 2013 following church
There will be a luncheon prior to the meeting.
All reports need to be turned in to the church office
for duplication no later than Sunday, April 7th.
MOTHER/DAUGHTER SALAD SUPPER
Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.
VBS is scheduled for June 10-14, 2013.
MISSION OUTREACH OF THE MONTH
Please pray for the continued spread of the Gospel in Cuba . This ministry outreach began in the city of Moa , Holguin , Cuba in 2003. Through the leadership of Cuban clergy with the guidance of Bishop Charles Dorrington and his wife, Claudia, of Western Canada , the congregation there has grown greatly and spread to other areas. The Ven. Ramon D. Torrente Batista of Cuba even reported on the establishment of a seminary! Praise God!
Chief (Robinson) Ike Nwosu