Thursday Morning Confession

It’s 6 am and it’s dark outside. Winter is already encroaching on the hours of our days, stealthily stealing some daylight each morning and each night.

Here in the dawn hours, I fumble for the liturgy that keeps days sane and faceable, daylight or no daylight.

Opening sentences
One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.

The day starts here: one thing I have asked of the Lord. Take a deep breath. I remember where I’ve been on this journey of faith, the commitments made.

This is what I seek. Today, today, this is what I seek.

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; starting today, to all of eternity, I seek only His presence.

To behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. Today, I confess that I have sought to behold my own beauty; I have sought my own worship in my own temple. Today, I confess that there the Lord alone is truly beautiful, and I will seek Him in His temple.

Seek Him.

The liturgy continues:

Call: Who is it that you seek?
Response: We seek the Lord our God.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

I think of all the ways my heart strays and sways to the beat of unsurrendered emotions and desires, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love,” and whisper, Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

There are those idols I read about in Isaiah 46, those things I expect to carry me instead of relying on the only God who can. Education and work and future plans and reputation and skills and all the things this Western world tells me will carry me so far: do I truly seek Him with all my soul? Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

How much time do I spend in my day frustrated, worrying, or complaining? My mental energy leaks there, like water taking the path of least resistance. How much time do I spend thinking of trifling matters, or flirting with the lies of this world? Do I seek Him with all my mind? Amen, Lord have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Response: Amen. Christ, have mercy.

I think of my work and exercise. The choices I make, the reasons why. How often do I submit my strength entirely to what burdens the heart of God, to care for the weak and the oppressed? Do I seek Him with all my strength? Amen. Christ, have mercy.

Kyrie Eleison. Christ, have mercy. When there is no other prayer, there is that prayer.

Today one of the readings is from Psalm 23:

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Even when my enemies are my own soul, mind, strength, heart and soul, He prepares a table for me. He feeds me. He anoints my head with oil, refreshing and restoring me. My cup overflows.

I remember hearing a sermon years ago on these verses. The pastor said that if you visited a man and he didn’t have much time for you, he’d fill your cup half-full with wine. If he was happy to see you and had all the time, he would fill your cup.

And every once in a while, you’d visit someone who was so ecstatic to see you and never wanted you to leave that he would pour wine into your cup until it overflowed onto the table and ran off the edges.

Lavish, extravagant waste declaring an eternal welcome.

I start this day vowing to seek the Lord.

I find that He already has sought me.

He has found me. I find myself, seated with Him at a table. He has joyfully invited me to stay forever, and by oil he has removed the dust and weariness of the burden of dutiful obedience.

Under the eyes of all my enemies, in the face of all my failings, He seeks me.

So this morning, I proclaim:

One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.

Amen. Christ, have mercy.

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