Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Joy of the Miserable Sinner

H/T The Priest with no name.

In an article at, Alan Wilson gives an excellent summary of what we have lost since most of us don't make the old confession anymore. You know, words like:

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - 1928 BCP

I have been told by priests in the Episcopal church that all of that bewailing stuff is for the birds, after all, "We have been baptised."

Alan Wilson scores some points with me when he writes,

"The Book of Common Prayer is full of miserable sinning. When, from the 1960s on, use of Cranmer's eucharistic rite began to fail, the reason often given was distaste at the way he went on about sin. What relevance could such gloom possibly have to a world that was not on the brink of damnation, but a cheerful future built of tower blocks, holidays on Mars and driving to work in your own personal hovercraft? Congregations did not care to think they were miserable sinners once they had twisted to the hit parade, tasted instant mash, feasted off Formica and actually seen Wombles and hot pants."

Wilson's concluding paragraph might provide some defense against wombley spined clergymen,

"Cranmer's God 'desireth not the death of a sinner but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live'. 'In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death and in the day of judgment,' his radical sense of fallibility could perhaps be a source not of depression, but realism, humility and hope." 

And joy!

Read the rest at,


  1. God desires fellowship with his creation. To get there, step one was Christ's atonement. Once we accept His grace, then step two is daily self-examination, confession and repentance to maintain that fellowship. I don't think we can lose our salvation, but I do think we can miss out on the fullness of life God wishes for his if we refuse to acknowledge our daily imperfections.


  2. Well stated, R. Sherman.