Yesterday I went for a long run and listened to this story. I love the way they tell a story. The premise is the consequence to a man who is wrongfully accused because of a confession that is wrongfully dragged out of someone. I just read a book by John Grisham with the same plot, so this theme must be cutting edge…
The first 30 minutes of the story are painful. All of your righteous indignation gets boiled up. You can’t believe that this kind of injustice is happening. You want to scream it’s not fair!! I actually didn’t enjoy it (nor did I enjoy that part of Grisham’s book).
The second 30 minutes is this incredible picture of confession and redemption. Twenty years after a man was wrongfully sent to prison, his friends re-investigate the case. They find the ‘witnesses’ who made up the story that sent their friend to jail. As soon as they mention his name to them, the truth comes gushing out– alongside lots of emotion. They talk about the anxiety and stress they have been carrying from the wrong they did.
Confession sets them free.
Then one of the lawyers describes the man who went to prison meeting the man who’s story wrongfully put him there. He says, ‘he looked like Jesus Himself come down off a stained glass window.’ He was describing his outward appearance.
Forgiveness. Redemption. The grace noted story line shows up all the time. We long for this. We live among so many broken people who want it. The story is real. He doesn’t just live on stained glass windows.
Ash Wednesday is a gift. There will be 3 services: 6:30am, Noon, and 7:30pm that end with Eucharist. The service centers around confession. The prayer leads us way beyond ‘what we have done and what we have left undone’ and gives us lots of categories and venues where we have hurt, ignored, and left behind. Confession sets us free.
The season of Epiphany ends today. Our service on Sunday had some real highlights. I admire and respect the people who stood up and make public commitments to the Restoration community. Being a member is not about privileges, it is a choice to use our resources and to live our lives alongside others who are wanting to look more like Jesus. Everyone should be a member of a church. I am so thankful to live life with ours.
The ashes wait. See you tomorrow.