Spiritualpractice 27
The redemptive process is a great mystery hidden in the heart of God. There is much in each of us and in our culture which requires redeeming. “Sin” translates the biblical term “hamartia” = “missing the mark.” We miss the mark in our relationships with others, with ourselves, with our environment, and with God. If we are truly the “Body of Christ,” then above all we are a fellowship of sinners. Some people don’t like this language, often associated with fairly oppressive strategies in some churches. If we truly understand how we often miss the mark, then we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God’s love and to confess our shortcomings before God and our brothers and sisters. Confession requires in the first instance an examination of conscience: we allow ourselves to come under the gaze of our loving God who knows us better – and loves us more – than we know and love ourselves. In this gaze, we review honestly what we have done and not done which we know has fallen short of the mark. Confession then requires sorrow. We still our Ego’s constant need to be right and justified and simply acknowledge that we are deeply saddened by our actions. Confession also requires that we have a determination to avoid repeating our sinful actions or involving ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, with occasions of “social sin” (read: noting whether our consumption habits are at the expense of the poor and vulnerable). This determination marks the intentionality of our spiritual practices: we recognize that we are on a quest for a deeper relationship with God and we intend to do our part to make ourselves ever more open to God’s presence, even if this means taking steps to silence our inordinate desires and the self-centred demands of our “fat relentless Ego.” Confession leads to change, and we remember that all spiritual disciplines are about opening ourselves to the transforming power of God.