Most everyone will be reading Luke 13:1-9 for the Gospel lesson on Sunday. Jesus declares, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Most of us will begin our services with a confession of sin followed by an announcement of absolution.
At Bunker Hill, I, as liturgist, will pray, “We are by nature sinful and unclean…we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring your grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The congregation will respond with their own prayer, “have mercy upon us and for His (Jesus) sake grant us remission of all our sins…”
I will then announce God’s answer: “Almighty God…has had mercy upon us and has given His only Son to die for us and for His sake forgives us all our sins…He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Grant this, Lord unto us all.”
So tomorrow morning, whatever order of confession and absolution we use we will have already repented and received forgiveness before we hear the word of Jesus about the need for all of us to repent. If I had thought of this earlier in the week, I would have placed the confession and absolution after the sermon. I think I’ll give out bulletins to the Bible Class, and after discussing the Gospel lesson, then discuss what we are saying and hearing in our confession and absolution in the service that follows.
Prayer of the Day from ELW: Eternal God, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death and resurrection of your Son. Help us to hear your word and obey it, and bring your saving love to fruition in our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.