“No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”  Proverbs 28:13

“Zacchaeus said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’  The Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house.’”  Luke 19:8-9

On our annual trip to Hawaii we have a “church away from home church.”  Recently the pastor told a story from younger years living in Germany.  His friend would behave terribly on Friday nights – drinking, trying to pick up girls, and so on.  He asked his friend why.  The friend, who was Roman Catholic, explained that his mother insisted he go to confession on Saturday mornings.  He did a lot of bad things on Friday nights so he would have something to say the next morning.  We chuckled at his high opinion of himself the other six days. 

I realize that I am pretty much a once-a-week confessor.  During Sunday morning worship I say I am sorry for what I have done.  Having memorized the words decades ago, sadly I often recite them without even thinking of my weekly mistakes.  If I was unkind and short- tempered that’s not like murder or stealing anyway.  I say I am sorry for what I have left undone.  But I’ve been busy; and how does an everyday person like myself begin to solve the world’s problems which are everyday indeed.

If I chuckled at Pastor Olaf’s German friend the story helped me see my own shortcomings and acknowledge I need forgiveness for the many wrongs I have done.  And the words of Zaccheus help me realize the many things I have left undone – to live with compassion and generosity, to love my neighbor as myself. 

Gracious God, Forgive my sins – too numerous to list.  Help me to see and to take action, to be more loving and generous and kind to others.  Amen

Verla Olson