Most all of the services in our Book of Common Prayer begin with words spoken by the Minister. There is one notable exception, however. In the service of Reconciliation, the one who is seeks to be reconciled speaks first. This person is known as “the Penitent.” The Penitent begins the service of Reconciliation with a very simple, yet extremely powerful statement: “Bless me, for I have sinned.”
What a confession of what it means to be human! “Bless me, for I have sinned.” We rarely say such a thing, and perhaps more rarely even think it. And, yet have not we all sinned? Our Baptismal Covenant even anticipates our need for reconciliation. Asked what we shall do whenever we fall into sin, we reply that with God’s help we will “repent and return to the Lord.”
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word “reconciliation” as the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement; or, the process of finding a way to make two different ideas or facts to be true at the same time.
What a gift reconciliation can be – causing people to become friendly again and making differing ideas ring true. Considering the word “reconciliation” is among the top 20% of the words accessed in online dictionaries, it seems obvious we all desire the broken to be repaired and the wounded to be made whole.
The Penitent begins with the words, “Bless me.” Yes!! Bless you! Bless me! Bless us all! Let us live and work together at St. Boniface to be a people who build up and bless the Body of Christ. May 2014 be a year of blessing, a year of healing, and a year of reconciliation for us all in Christ Jesus.
Fr. John Hall