The service we are familiar in LSB has a slight addition to the way we used to do the Confession and Absolution. You might have wondered, "What is Pastor waiting for?", if you did not read the rubrics on page 184. (LSB page xxv says, "Rubrics. From the Latin for 'red.' Instructions, which are often printed in red, for the minister(s) and congregation concerning how to conduct a service.") The last rubric states, "Silence for reflection on God's Word and for self-examination."
This provides you with a moment to consider your life before God, using Scripture to examine your actions, words - and motives. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup." Over the years, I have seen lists of questions to help this self-examination. They reflect the truth about us in the light of God's Law (James 1:22-25). Below are some sample questions based on the Commandments. You can ask me for the others, or develop your own list after reading God's Word and the Small Catechism.
1st Commandment - You shall have no other gods.
Whom, or in what, do I fear, love, and trust above all else?
Whom, or in what, do I trust most for security, safety, or emotional support?
Do I expect only good from God in every situation, or do I worry, doubt, complain, or feel unfairly treated when things go wrong?
Is my love for God evident in daily life? Do I withhold from God what is rightfully His?
(2nd) - Do I keep all the vows I have made in the Lord's name (confirmation, marriage, etc.)?
(3rd) - Do I hold the Lord's Word sacred, and gladly hear and learn it, or do I pay little attention?
(4th) - Have I seen parents, teachers, employers, pastors, and government officials as gifts that God has put in authority over me?
(5th) - Do I lose my temper or injure my neighbor in thought, word or deed?
(6th) - Have I honored and supported marriage as God intends, both my own and those of others?
(7th) - Do I do honest work, pay what I owe, return what I borrow, and respect other's property?
(8th) - Do I gossip, listen to rumors, or take pleasure in talking about the faults of anyone?
(9th) - Am I content with what God has given me? Do I envy those who have what I want?
(10th) - Have I done anything to break up a friendship, or have I encouraged its mending?
Some of these questions get pretty brutal. In fact, they are intended to put to death our impurity as it reveals our evil to us. Yet the answers to these questions also reveal the depth of God's love for us in sending Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). For Jesus Christ became man for our benefit, perfectly obeying all God's Commandments - and then, to save us, at the Cross He took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved.
More important than the silent words of reflection, expressed out loud by the whole congregation in the Confession, is God's sure and certain Word of forgiveness spoken by the Pastor. The Absolution strengthens your faith, comforts your conscience, and gives you the courage to confess your sins and sinfulness. Most importantly, it declares that the Lord welcomes sinners, that He does not despise those with broken and contrite hearts, that He removes our transgressions from us, and remembers our sin no more (Luke 15:2, Psalm 51:17, 103:12; Jeremiah 31:34).
Any and all material from me is free to be used without attribution.
Send RevLynch an email.