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A Litany for Worship: You Have Left Your First Love

I have written previously about the need to bring regular times of facing and acknowledging our sins int out primary* Christian worship.  There are, of course, a number of ways this might be done.  One way, though not always the most effective, can be through music.  The song "I'm Sorry" by Paul Wright (from the album Kingdom Come) is an example of such a song.

A Litany of Confession

In all the major traditions of Christian worship until the arrival of free church Protestant worship, early in the time of worship the celebrant would lead those present in a time of confession of sin, seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God, and then celebrating that forgiveness (usually with the Greater Doxology: Gloria in excelsis Deo).  Since the typical Litany employs liturgical dialogue largely foreign to American Evangelicals, the one below revises it to be more usable for those who do not typical engage in liturgical dialogue.

Reading:  Revelation 2:1-4 (various translations)
Note, the music on audio continues for almost two minutes after the reading of verse 4. This can be used or fades out as needed.

Let us now enter into a time of confession.  James tells us, "Confess your sins to another another, and so be healed."  The prayer of confession begins with our bodies.  Many people feel the need to kneel.  Others simply turn their faces downward, as if in shame.  Some will hold out their hands, palms upward, as if surrendering before a might King.  You are free to do any of those, as you feel led by God.

I am going to pray a series of short sentences.  After each one, I want to invite you to rephrase that sentence to God in your own words.  If you want to add a thought or a specific confession, of course you should do that.  

Let us begin.
Eternal God, search our hearts, examine our thoughts, know our ways.
[to church] and now if you would say that to God in your own words....
I come before as a sinner, as the chief of sinners, of my own fault.  Entirely my own fault.
I have sinned against you and against my brother and my sisters.
I have sinned in things that I have said, and done, and thought.
I have sinned by doing things I should not have done.
I have sinned by refusing to do things I should have done.
I am unworthy to be called your child.
I ask for your forgiveness.
I will see the forgiveness of my brother and my sisters
I now forgive those who have hurt and wronged me because I know you have forgiven me of greater wrongs.
Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.
If you have anything else on your heart to say to God, take these next moments to tell those things to God.
(long wait)

And now, Eternal God our Savior, through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we now accept what we can never fully understand
Your grace to us, your forgiveness of our sins, and your renewal in the Holy Spirit.
Help us to go and sin no more.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

*Primary Christian Worship:  This is synonymous with what most people would call "Sunday Worship."  But, since it does not have to occur on Sunday, it seems a better description.

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