Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been too long since my last confession. I bow before You most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love.
You touched the untouchable leper. I shelter myself from pain.
You fed those who were hungry. Some days I turn my head away.
You said, “I have come to serve.” I would rather pay someone else to serve.
You said, “I have come to give My life.” I have grand dreams for my life.
People call me a shepherd, but you are the Good Shepherd. It is a wonder that sheep follow you, considering the way we shepherds have misrepresented you. We have starved and bruised your sheep.
Father, forgive us.
We, your pastors and priests, have offered religion rather than love.
We have stored up treasure on earth rather than treasure in heaven. We have rushed for honor and neglected service. We target our kindness toward those from whom we expect kindness. We love the most lovable. We have reserved hospitality for those who will offer it to us in return.
We have whored your church to politics. We have fought harder for our own rights than for those who need a defender. To those who sin against us we declare: 3 strikes and you’re out; you pardon us 70 x 7.
We have longed for prominence over Providence. We curry A-listers while you care for aliens. We bow to owners while you honor orphans. We honor winners while you defend widows.
We are sorry for these and all the sins of our past.
Lots of people see me, Father, but only you see my heart. I am glad that you are in the business of changing hearts—hearts like mine.
Thank you for Carl (names changed). I talked with him while he was preparing a meal for guests of the Ojai Valley Family Shelter. I commended him for taking the afternoon off from work in order to serve. Carl smiled broadly and replied, “This is a privilege for me.” Meanwhile, he has downsized his lifestyle.
Thank you for my brother, Oscar. The week I talked with Carl, Oscar used the same radical word. I thanked Oscar for washing the dirty laundry of strangers with Help of Ojai’s Community Assistance Program. Oscar said simply, “It’s my privilege to serve.”
Father, thank you for hearing my confession. Thank you for the transforming love and power of Jesus. Transform me.
Transform your church so that we reflect Jesus. Make us like Carl and Oscar.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever.