7–13 August 2016.
When people come to the English Ministry, they notice that during the service we have a special prayer: the Communal Confession. It’s a time when we admit that we haven’t always lived up to God’s expectations. We confess those failings together, and then hear God’s promise of forgiveness for us. This is an important practice the church reformers also used in their church services, because it allows us to put past failures behind us, receive God’s forgiveness, and re-devote our lives again to following God.
We see something similar in today’s famous story from 2 Kings 23. One day a lost scroll containing Moses’s law was found in the temple, and when it was shown to King Josiah he was shocked to see just how far the Israelites had strayed from the law. So Josiah begins a massive reform.
Starting with the temple, he removes all foreign idols and objects, and puts an end to all practices that have nothing to do with worshipping God. But it doesn’t end there. Josiah spreads his reforms through the whole country. Because all Israel had wandered away from proper faith in God, now it’s time to strip away all those past sins and turn back to God. So in 23:2, we see the kingdom of Judah’s own communal confession. The king, all men of Judah, all inhabitants of Jerusalem, and even all the priests and prophets all come together and re-devote their lives to following God – or as verse 3 says, “to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments.”
In our own lives, even though we may know Jesus and are baptized, we too still need this continual reform. It’s so easy for our faith to grow cold, or for us to wander away from the right road until we don’t even recognize true faith in our lives anymore. If that’s how you are feeling, I pray that God will help you today to rediscover his love, even if it’s hidden away in the corners of your heart. And may that re-discovery give you the strength to clean out the temple of your heart, and to re-devote your whole life once more to following Jesus. Because Jesus is calling you back to him today.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis