Thursday, January 14, 2016

From Genesis to Now: Confession

Dear Christa—
Genesis to Now: Gen 44:14-33
Confession can take a long time. Wouldn’t it just be better to admit when we’ve done wrong and be done with it? But no, our pride and fear keep our sins hidden. One of the things I liked about teaching Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter was dealing with the issue of hidden sin. It makes us miserable during the hiding, and it comes out eventually anyway—like a splinter slowly but surely pushing its way to the surface, festered and painful.
So, Jacob’s sons trudge back to Joseph’s house. No cajoling, no excuses, they throw themselves for a third time before him, and Judah exclaims, “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt.”
All these years they’d carried the guilt of selling Joseph to Egypt. It’s fitting that it’s Judah who speaks, since it had been his idea to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites to begin with. When Judah finally comes to the end of himself, I wonder how the words felt tumbling out of his mouth—God has uncovered our guilt.
Confession isn’t easy. Judah’s life had been marked with pain. Did he wonder about Joseph in the dark nights after he’d lost his sons? Did he wonder about God and his justice when he discovered the child Tamar carried was his own? The road to confession can be long and difficult. We must set aside pride and the false pretenses, believing we are more than what we actually are. But, confess we must. For through confession comes relief, hope, and mercy. It was so for Judah, and we can find it too, as we throw ourselves before Jesus, the only one who can save us.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

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