As the Church in the West considers its place in the broader culture, it is best for us to begin with confession and repentance, not repentance on behalf of the broader culture but because of our own role in embracing and even shaping that culture within the walls of our own churches. As the NAB, we have not been exempted from this. The NAB Executive Team would like to invite you to pray with us today, as well as to take time during your worship services, whether in person or online, to unite as a conference this Sunday, January 17, in a spirit of confession and repentance.
Recent events of violence, xenophobia, and engagement in wild and unfounded conspiracies in the US this past week, this past month, and this past year, which too often have been fostered and promoted even within the church, poignantly point to this need for confession and repentance. Not simply for these actions, which we unequivocally denounce, but more importantly we need to repent from the powers of darkness that lie beneath these actions: a spirit of divisiveness, the idol of our own security, and the heresy of syncretism with the powers of this world.
We realize that a significant portion of our NAB family and those reading this are not American; you are Canadian or some other nationality, and it would be inappropriate for us to lump our international brothers and sisters in with the events that have taken place in the US. But as a conference of churches and believers that transcends our national borders, we are humbly asking those of you who are our brothers and sisters in other lands to join us in a spirit of confession and repentance.
God, we confess that too often we ignore the prayer of your Son that we would be one so that the whole world would see your love for them. We confess that we have divided ourselves over power, politics, and prestige, contrary to your teaching for unity in your Spirit. We confess that to cover up this division we have settled and even called for a false peace, one that ignores the pain of others and whitewashes the sins of the past that were committed as your Church stood by silently complicit or that ignores the culture of death and lewdness that plagues a world you call to life and holiness through your power. We have sinned and plead that you would forgive our divisiveness; give us the strength to live another way, to live Truth with love.
God, we confess that we have made an idol of our own security. When the events of the last week in the US capital cause us to think the end of the world is nigh, we confess that we have not been moved to compassion by the atrocities against humanity around the world. We confess that we value our own security, our own well-being, and our own property over the lives of others whom you love with your zealous passion; we have settled for the kingdom of this earth instead of longing for your Kingdom. Break our hearts for a world you love that we have too often ignored; teach us to be a neighbor; remind us that we are our brother’s keeper.
God, we confess that in our worship at the idol of security we have turned to political leaders and the power of this world to preserve and protect your Church. We confess that, like your people of old, we run to those who have horses and chariots and we plead for an earthly king. God, forgive us when we lack faith in your Kingdom as we attempt to align it and bolster it with a power that is foreign and incompatible with you, your Kingdom, and your people. Give us hope in you, in your Kingdom, and in the power of the resurrection!
Lord have mercy.