Monday, February 02, 2009

Speaking of the African-American Church...

and the cross-fertilization she shares with the wider church, our brother Wyeth Duncan is meditating on AME liturgy and its indebtedness to the Methodist Episcopal Church which is indebted to the Book of Common Prayer. But what draws his attention this morning is this line of general confession in the communion liturgy: "We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us."

I remember the first time I heard those words prayed. My heart went, "Yes. I'm grieved by my sin!" The prayer so wonderfully gives wording and vent to the Christian heart drawn in remembrance to its wanderings. And yet, we don't stop with grieving, for in heaven sits enthroned our Perfect Righteousness. Our grief is turned to joy when our eyes are turned to Christ. In the gospel is the complete forgiveness of sins, but also the imputation of perfect righteousness which consoles us even when the knowledge of forgiveness can't.

Grieve for your sins today. Then rejoice in Christ's everlasting righteousness!

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