Category Archives: Repentance Thursdays

Repentance Thursday: November 2011

Light of Christ.Light of Christ

Hello, friends.

It’s been a long while since I opened this space for our monthly Repentance Thursday feature. This is a monthly practice offered the first Thursday of each month that provides an opportunity for us to examine our hearts for the places of violence, unlove, apathy, or anything else that has kept us from God and others in the previous 30 days. (You can find the original post about Repentance Thursday here.)

Although this Repentance Thursday is technically a day behind schedule (I’m writing this in the wee hours of the morning on a Friday), I found my heart craving the opportunity for confession and repentance that this ritual provides. In particular, this prayer of confession from the Book of Common Prayer has been running through my mind tonight, and I thought it would be edifying to share it with you and then provide the opportunity for our Repentance Thursday practice:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

So, on this Repentance Thursday, we are invited to consider the following questions as we prayerfully review this last 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?
You are welcome to leave your confession in the comments section below. 

Repentance Thursday: September 2010

[Holy oil used in a “Service of Repentance” between Lutherans and Mennonites in July 2010. Photo by LWF Eleventh Assembly.]

Hello, friends.

As I mentioned in my post earlier today, today is Repentance Thursday. For those new to this blog, this is a day set apart on the first Thursday of every month where we examine our hearts and confess our own personal need for repentance and forgiveness.

It is an opportunity to remember that we are equal to every human being on earth in our mere humanity and that we, too, contribute to the pain the world endures.

So today, let’s reflect on the past month of our lives and then ask ourselves:

  • Into what dark mires did my heart traverse?
  • In what ways did I bring harm to my fellow man, either in thought, word, or deed?
  • How did I sin against God?

Upon reflection, you are welcome to leave a public confession in the comment section below. As always, please note:

  • 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 provide one).
  • You are welcome to be as general or specific as you want.
  • You are welcome to write your confession as prayer.
  • Any judging or disparaging comments on another’s confession will be removed.

Thank you for being here on this Repentance Thursday. May you find peace and a clear heart and mind as you participate in this reflective day with us.

Repentance Thursday: August 2010

Hello, friends.

It’s been a while since I last posted, but it’s not for lack of thinking about you or this space. Your encouragement on my last post meant so much to me. I hope to get back to a regular posting schedule soon.

For now, it’s Repentance Thursday, so let’s turn our attention to this last month and how we might nurture repentance and forgiveness in our hearts today. (If you’re new to Repentance Thursday, you can learn more about its inception and our practice of it here.)

Reflect on the following questions as you consider the past month in retrospect:

  • Into what dark mires did my heart traverse?
  • In what ways did I bring harm to my fellow man, either in thought, word, or deed?
  • How did I sin against God?

After reflecting, you are welcome to leave a comment of confession below.

Blessings to you on this day. Thank you for being here.

Repentance Thursday: July 2010

[A short song for reflection on this Repentance Thursday, sung by me.]

.

Every first Thursday of the month, we take some time to reflect on our thoughts, words, and actions over the previous month in order to confess our need for repentance and forgiveness. If you’re new to Repentance Thursday, I encourage you to read the inaugural post expressing the intent and reason for this ritual here.

To participate, feel free to reflect on these questions as you consider the past month in retrospect:

  • Into what dark mires did my heart traverse?
  • In what ways did I bring harm to my fellow man, either in thought, word, or deed?
  • How did I sin against God?

After reflecting on these questions, you are welcome to leave a comment of confession below.

Blessings to you on this holy day. Thank you for joining us.

Repentance Thursday: June 2010

[A song for reflection on this Repentance Thursday, sung by me.]

.

Hello, friends.

We began a tradition last month called Repentance Thursday.

It happens here on the first Thursday of every month, which means it is today.

To learn what Repentance Thursday is about and why it is important for us in the journey toward nonviolence, you can read the inaugural post here.

But in a nutshell, it is an opportunity to remember our humanity.

It is a place to remember our level footing with the rest of our brothers and sisters on this earth.

It is a chance to remember, confess, and repent of our own contribution to this world’s groans and pains.

.

Today, you are invited to reflect on the following questions as you consider this past month in retrospect:

  • Into what dark mires did my heart traverse?
  • In what ways did I bring harm to my fellow man, either in thought, word, or deed?
  • How did I sin against God?

After reflecting on these things, you are free to leave a comment of confession.

.

Please remember:

  • 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.
  • Any judging or disparaging comments of another’s confession will be removed.

Thank you for joining us in this space of honesty and courageous conversation.

Repentance Thursday: May 2010

[A song for reflection on this Repentance Thursday, sung by me.]

.

Hello, friends.

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.

Please note:

  • 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.