In the Series Foreword to Liturgical Elements for Reformed Worship, I explain that the Reformed tradition views the corporate Prayer of Confession is not limited to the confession of personal sins or even the sins of the church, though it certainly includes both. More broadly, it is a confession of the sin of the whole world, a continuation of Jesus' own intercession on the cross in which he says, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." In that spirit, then, let me offer this Prayer of Confession from When Heaven Stands Open, not because any person of genuine faith could have had a hand in the mayhem in Boston, but so that we might recognize and confess the sickness of whole human race, honor those who are suffering, direct our thoughts to the redeeming suffering of Christ, and cry out for healing. And to those who do not see the sense of such prayer, and even to those who would scorn it and thus demonstrate that do not know what they are doing, let me simply say, "In the name of Jesus Christ, you are welcome anyway."
Prayer of Confession (Proper 24/Ordinary 29, Year B)Merciful God, with tears and cries you offered yourself for our release, yet our pettiness perpetuates grief and suffering. Forgive us, O Christ, for failing to recognize you in those we hurt or tear apart. Forgive us for holding ourselves and each other hostage in judgment, anger, contempt, and criticism. May your Spirit flow through us once again.