Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | February 16, 2018

What We Have Done and Failed to Do

Altar Santa Creu

When I was trying to think of a blog post befitting the start of Lent, I was going to go with the Litany of Penitance that’s in the Book of Common Prayer. I’m still going to post that, but also add some thoughts that have been running through my head since Ash Wednesday.

When a tragedy of the scope of a mass shooting happens, there is, of a course a lot of focus on what was done. Maybe, though, we need to shift our focus to what we have failed to do, both as a society and part of the Body of Christ.

We have failed to stop asking, “How long, O Lord” and not taken action to demand better of our leaders and larger society. Yes, it’s horrifying, sickening, maddening – but the time needs to come for us to get up and DO something about all these evils.

We have allowed pundits motivated by big paychecks to frame our arguments for us and stopped prayerfully and carefully thinking about what we can do to change things. We were gifted with reason and intellect for a reason – we need to use this to take action in whatever ways we are motivated to do so.

We have followed a false gospel that offers cheap grace and demands no accountability while refusing to be Christ’s hands and feet. Offer all the thoughts and prayers you want, but let your sense of Christian charity actually mean something, and stop sitting and waiting for the “end of all things” to happen before you do so.

It’s all too easy for people to offer simplified solutions for deeply rooted problems. It’s part of our human nature, but also a big contributor to our sins of omission that allow tragedies to keep happening that never should have happened.

Maybe instead of waiting for “someone” to do something, maybe we should be asking if that “somebody” might be us. I’ll close with the litany (a couple of days late, but no less timely):

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and
strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We
have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved
your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the
pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation
of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those
more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and
our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our
indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our
neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those
who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of
concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almight God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.

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