I sat here for an hour listening to videos and thinking what I should write for Good Friday and Holy Saturday, instead I kept turning to my own particular sinfulness. It isn’t those pushy progressives messing everything up; it’s my own disobedience to Christ. It’s my own desire to disengage from the battle at hand and go pick peas and roses and sit in the sun and read novels. It’s me wanting to take a lazy train to somewhere, but not a plane to Detroit. It’s me wanting to sit outside at a café with some coffee or a good dark stout and think about something besides … well God knows. But I am not alone in this, there is the Church.
And in the Church, that group of individuals, who name Christ as Lord, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it, is that place where we see our guilt and confess our guilt. He writes, “The Church is precisely that community of human beings which has been led by the grace of Christ to the recognition of guilt towards Christ.”
And guilt towards Christ is apostasy. And here Bonhoeffer speaks words that themselves open my eyes to my guilt:
It is a sign of the living presence of Christ that there are men in whom the knowledge of the apostasy from Jesus Christ is awake not merely in the sense that this apostasy is observed in others but in the sense that these men themselves confess themselves guilty of this apostasy. They confess their guilt without any sidelong glance at their fellow offenders.
Going further Bonhoeffer writes “With this confession the entire guilt of the world falls upon the Church, upon the Christians, and since this guilt is not denied here, but is confessed, there arises the possibility of forgiveness.”
This is from Bonhoeffer’s Ethics, and there is much more including the church’s confession as spoken by the individual for the church. It begins with words that remind the reader of the Decalogue:
The Church confesses that she has not proclaimed often and clearly enough her message of the one God who has revealed Himself for all times in Jesus Christ and who suffers no other gods beside Himself. …
Picture by Ethan McHenery