Prayer of Confession: Presbytery Meeting of South Alabama, Aug. 2010

We have a contemporary worship service on the Friday evening of our Presbytery

meetings here in S. Alabama.  This is the prayer of confession that we used, since our text theme was from Exodus 3:1-12 – God heard the cries of the Israelites in slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt, and called Moses to be the means of their liberation.  I wrote this with help from Rev. Karen Bullock who also arranged it into different reader-parts.

Confession 2010

(Leader  [person #1]  from upfront):

Here is our pain, our cry,

here is our prison cell graffiti

here is our 5th amendment waiver

Look and see into our eyes

Hear the burdens of our hearts


(unexpected, person #2  stands up in pew and says)

we have been locked up so long

born into a prison that we cannot smell or taste or touch

we have paced the cage til we’ve worn paths into the floor

Cursed is our containment

Heavy the weight of sin we bear


(person #3 stands up and says)

We have acquiesced too quickly

swallowed poison propaganda

kowtowed to Empire

genuflected towards the status-quo consensus


(person #4 from the pew, seated, reads this)  

And it is killing us, slowly

we are rotting, souls first.

Look at our atrophy (pause)

No, don’t look we don’t want to be seen like this

Oh, but look, look, and help us learn how to be free


(leader up front [person #1] reads again)

now it feels chronic; nearly normal

now it’s all habit and routine

comfortably predictable misery

numb monotony


(All; words on screen)

But this is wrong and we know it

we have felt it our entire lives,

there is something wrong with the world

this is not how we were meant to live

this is not what we were made for

this should not be our destiny


prosperity has not borne fruitfulness

our garden became a junk-yard, oil-stained

longevity has only lengthened our loneliness

we have outlived our reasons


We cannot be silent any longer

whether from true repentance

or merely a pain-reflex

heard or not, we must cry out:


(leader up front, person #1)

Enough of “not enough”!

No more of “a little more”

Our neurons are nauseated

by the salt-sugar-fat trinity


(person #2)

now we know:

no amount of messages

can fill an inbox without a bottom

no screen, … touch or not, …can hug or cry, or bleed, or scream


(person #4 seated)

These are our walls,

this is our incarceration,

for this we traded freedom

can there yet be liberation?


( reader [#4]  stands up, raises hands continues)

God of Exodus, hear our cry,

Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy (all 4 readers)

Set us free

Or we are hopeless


(all 4 readers)

Pry out of our clenched fists,

finger by finger,

(break them open if need be)

your jagged, cruciform, key



Sing: “O Lord hear my prayer” (Taize)

O Lord, hear my prayer

O Lord, hear my prayer

When I call, answer me

O Lord, hear my prayer

O Lord, hear my prayer

Come, and listen to me


Assurance of Pardon from Isaiah 61  (Leader:)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners.



[bring up house lights]

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2 thoughts on “Prayer of Confession: Presbytery Meeting of South Alabama, Aug. 2010

  1. And it is killing us, slowly
    we are rotting, souls first.
    Look at our atrophy (pause)
    No, don’t look we don’t want to be seen like this
    Oh, but look, look, and help us learn how to be free

    This is sin at work. How do I repent? What is my next step? Where do I begin, what do I do next? And make sure you’re instructions reflect the instruction of scripture, in particular the instruction of Jesus. In other words, help me become more and more like Jesus.
    My critique is preachers try to do entertain, try to “teach” (More head knowledge may lead to a greater affirmation of the Gnosticism, a great enemy of the way of Jesus.) Preachers need to help me make choices. Lay out the choices and help me take the next step in making the choice that will help me become more like Jesus.

    I didn’t hear this from either of the preachers at the Presbytery meeting.

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