In the Presbyterian order of worship, a brief time is set for silent confession.
A few years ago, those thirty seconds sparked in me a brilliant idea for a novel.
Suddenly, during the sacred silence, my main character, a woman, is empowered with the ability to read the minds of the congregation.
Mr. Bradford in the front row.
A visiting couple in the back.
The soprano in the choir.
The pastor’s wife.
The usher leaning against the door.
The nine-year-old reading the book hidden in his hymnal.
The teenagers slumping in the balcony.
Her own husband, whose shoulder touches hers in the pew.
She learns each and every sin confessed.
And my character is not known for her tact.
Troubles worse than the chaos on Noah’s Ark blow the lid off that church.
Said novel has yet to be written, but I plan to, someday.
Until then, I’m going to confess my sin. To all of you. Right now.
For the last ten years or so, I’ve had the same sin EVERY WEEK.
How boring is that?
Here it is:
My sin is self-centeredness.
Not that I think I’m so great or so important.
More that I beat up myself enough, worry about my own stuff so much that I don’t focus as I should on the needs of others.
A true sin. A sin of omission.
But last Sunday, a menopause angel hopped on my shoulder and said, “Barbara Younger, it’s time for a different sin.”
And so I’ve decided, in honor of the reaching and creativity and new imaginings of the Great Pause, that I’m going to confess a new sin each week.
I won’t go out and intentionally sin just so I have something dramatic for Sunday.
Rather, I’m going to be more mindful of the variety of ways that I transgress against people and the Earth and God.
And list them, week by week.
Every week, a different sin.
Top Photo: The bulletin on Sunday. My last time to confess the same sin.
Noah Photo: The watercolor was done by my mom, who is an artist.
Photo Below: I’m going to use this toy church for inspiration as I write the novel. Oh the secrets that lurk inside. Just like the mighty walls of Jericho, those old church walls are going be a tumbling down…