As we continue to pack, repack, keep, discard, and discard more and more, I come across some interesting things I have kept over the years. Some are objects that must have had some significance at the time. Others are articles and quotes I kept for sermons, papers, projects, articles, or seminars. But most of the papers are of my own creation...the aforementioned sermons, papers, projects, articles, and seminars. Each object or paper brings back different memories and emotions...some are sad, others are humorous, but for the most part, they speak to me of the abundant grace and mercy of our Lord.
You see, these objects and papers represent His faithfulness over the years in keeping me in the palm of His hand through thick and through thin...and these years speak of Him who has promised to be with me even to the end of the age...of Him who will never leave me nor forsake me...of Him who will bring to completion the good work He has begun in me...of Him who is well able to keep me from stumbling so that He might present me faultless before His presence in glory on that Day...of Him who is slow to anger, but quick to forgive...
One of my latest "discoveries" is a paper I wrote on worship while at Trinity School for Ministry. Part of the project was an exercise in the creation of our own set of Collects. Reading through them now, I see the reflection of my own theology...my understanding of the character of the one to whom I direct my prayers, supplications, and petitions. One particular Collect that caught my attention was the one I wrote for the confession of sin.
Merciful Father, You are ever ready to forgive and to reconcile; we confess that we have sinned and have fallen short of Your glory; forgive us our many transgressions against You and our fellow human beings and grant us grace that we may have the humility to confess our sins, not only before You, but also before those whom we have wronged, so that we might receive Your pardon in the same manner in which we grant pardon; through Him Whose death reconciled us to the Father, Jesus Christ, our Advocate and Mediator. Amen. *
Where would I be today if not for the gift of confession and the greater gift of forgiveness? All these objects and papers would represent nothing more than a vain striving after wind as they would lack the rootedness of a relationship made possible through forgiveness.
Indeed, it is because of forgiveness, that I am one of the "kept" instead of one of the "discarded"...
* Vanderbijl, Johann W., A Primer on Worship, LW 413, 2005