Offered by Bishop Peggy Johnson, February 23, 2019
This is the prayer of confession that I prayed at General Conference this morning. It was written by Rev. Michael Johnson.
Gracious God, we confess that we have not followed Your more excellent way. We are able to speak in many different languages; but to those who disagree with us we have become resounding brass and clanging cymbals. We claim to be prophetic and able to discern all of Your mysteries, and have all the knowledge we need. We see ourselves as having the faith to move mountains but many times we don’t have enough faith to find a way to love one another. Hence, we have become nothing. We are so proud of our ministries: all that we give, all that we sacrifice. We feel like martyrs sometimes, but we still have not found the courage to let go and simply love each other. Because of that, we have become powerless.
Our love is not patient, and it is not kind. Our expression of love is diminished by our pride and bluster. Our actions at times are unseemly, self-serving; and it grieves the Holy Spirit. We have seen only the wrong in those we oppose and not Your presence. We have often rejoiced in the injustice done to others and ignored the truth found in the story of their lives.
Remind us that love never fails. Our interpretations of Scripture will fail us, our language will fail us, our knowledge will fail us, because it is all limited. We know so little and we understand even less; but when we open our hearts to the fullness of Your presence, we will finally understand the futility of our battles. In many ways we still behave as children, unwilling to move on to deeper understandings of what it means to love one another and to love You.
Now our speech, our actions and our very thoughts are immature. Help us to grow up and move away from our childish ways. The reality we see now is hazy at best, but in the time to come we will see more clearly. Right now our knowledge is partial, but in time we will know more fully, just as we are fully known by You. What we need to give each other are three things: our faith, our hope and our love, these three; and the greatest gift we can give is love. Give us the grace to pursue Your perfect love, to be zealous for Your Spirit, and open to Your leading. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Photo: Bishop Peggy Johnson (front, third from left) joins other bishops in prayer during the first day of the Special Session of General Conference. Mike Dubose photo