What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prayer of Confession

Heads were bowed, eyes were closed and hands were folded as the pastor led his congregation in a Prayer of Confession and Declaration of Forgiveness. Everyone was still and silent and pastor’s soft words were heard plainly from the pulpit.

“We come to you Father mired in and cognizant of our transgressions...”
In the front row, between two fatigued parents, sat a young girl. She looked to be somewhere in years between five and seven, but was a tad stout and had the ornery air of a person who enjoys rebellion, which rendered an accurate age assessment impossible. To that point during the service she had made a number of mischievous dalliances toward inappropriate behavior, but she had never gone so far as to cause a disturbance. Only my eyes, peeled as they were to youthful societal infractions, picked up on her desire to sin.

With both parents distracted by the prayer, the young girl saw her opportunity. Posterity will never know exactly what she did that scratched her sin itch, but it must have been satisfying because it immediately drew a “SHHHH” from one of her parents.

Pastor continued his prayer:

”We acknowledge our shortcomings and humble ourselves in Your presence knowing that You and You alone...”
The girl in the front row succumbed again to temptation and this violation put her over the threshold. Mother grabbed daughter’s wrist and marched deliberately toward the back exit. Both women were wearing stylish sandals that made a distinctive flip-flop sound as they moved, such that even without lifting my head I could track their location.
“We disappoint You routinely – such shortcomings are in our nature – but You in Your benevolence see fit to correct us...”
The walls of the church building were thin and the sound of a sobbing girl was not restrained to the nursery room. Apparently her rebellious desire was extinguished quickly by a stern look from mom and in its place were shrieks of expectant agony. The girl knew she was going to get a spanking and everyone in the sanctuary knew it too.
“Save us heavenly Father from the punishment of eternal damnation and the flames of hell...”
The retort of a blunt impact reverberated around the room and was followed by a bellow of unrestrained agony punctuated at times by girly sobs. Another smack was recorded in the ledger or our ears and more screams reinforced pastor’s prayer.
”You know our hearts and minds, please see our penitence...”
“I’M SOO SORRY MAMA!” The temptation was firmly erased from the young girl’s mind and her only thoughts were for her own comfort. Although she was hidden from view, I am sure tears were streaming down her cheeks and that sitting down would be unpleasant for the next few minutes.

Another voice, much quieter than the young girl’s sobs and more feminine than the pastor’s prayer joined in saying “It’s OK, honey. Come on; all’s forgiven.”

“Thank you Father for sending Your son to give His sanctifying blood on our behalf...”
The flips-flops made their way back to the front of the sanctuary, accented by gentle sniffles from the young girl. Daughter looked embarrassed and mother appeared oblivious to the fact that the entire church had witnessed her meted punishment. Pastor made no comment, he only concluded his prayer:
”In Your blessed name we pray, Amen.”


Christopher Yerziklewski said...

Haha, your writing style definitely made that piece. Good stuff.

ScribblinScribe said...

There's nothing quite like real-life illustrations.

Princess in Disguise said...

that was pretty powerful.

mommy g said...

I see this piece as a fantastic contrast- corporate confession vs. true, heart-felt, remorseful, repentent confession. Oh, Lord, may I always repent like the little child in this story. May my heart be so broken that I cry out, yearning to mend the broken relationship and seek forgiveness.

cbo said...

that is really cool! you have a great writing style.

Hannah said...

Thought provoking stuff. The humor on FCN is great, but I like the depth of this post. Hope to read more like it in the future!

Allegra said...

Nice... I love how God uses things like that to speak to us.