Spiritual Discipline // CONFESSION
By Donia Hovet
My best friend in 6th grade was Cristina del Carmen Reyes. She and her family immigrated from Nicaragua, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation. From time to time, I was able to attend Sunday mass with her family. I was enthralled by how DIFFERENT it was from my church. I never knew what to expect! One minute we were sitting, then kneeling, then standing. Sometimes the priest would talk, sometimes we were expected to join in. From time to time, shrill bells would burst into song-which scared me at first! Then there was communion. Everyone lined up to receive their elements from the priest. As I approached the front of the line, I was horrified to discover that everyone was drinking from the same silver goblet!
As a new believer, I was tremendously concerned about the well-being of my best friend’s soul. One day I could stand it no longer. With my 11 year old heart pounding a mile a minute, I screwed up my courage and asked Cristina point blank, “Are you saved?”
“Yes,” was her confident reply.
I was startled. Catholics can be SAVED!?
“You mean you believe that Jesus died for your sins?” I asked.
Again, she simply said, “Yes.”
Boy was I relieved! We never really talked about it again.
This formative experience gave me a perspective of Catholicism that is still with me. From that day forward, I have never assumed that to be Catholic (or another Christian denomination) meant that a person was not saved.
We all have various assumptions and experiences when it comes to different religious expressions. But as Isaac taught this past Sunday, to be pentecostal is to be ecumenical.
Ecumenical: promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian Churches.
Sectarian: Prone to identify one’s self by differences between groups, rather than similarities.
As pentecostals, we are called into a vision much larger than that of our Foursquare denomination. We are ecumenical. But unity is HARD. It means letting go of the NON-ESSENTIALS and practicing the way of curiosity and tolerance for a vast and varied Christian expression. Looking for similarities instead of just differences.
Today as we practice the discipline of confession, we’ll have a chance to confess how our own religious prejudices have produced division and intolerance. Let’s lean into the ecumenical spirit of the pentecostal movement and allow our divisive hearts to be corrected and healed.
- READ: Colossians 13:1-17
- What does it mean to put on a new nature? Why does Paul consider this to be important?
- Paul lists some specific rules of engagement in verses 13-15. What are they and which ones are your strengths?
- Take some time to reflect on this passage as it pertains to our value of being ecumenical. What are your struggles? Are there expressions of Christianity that are unseemly or frustrating to you? How does sectarianism affect your life?
- CONFESS: Take some time to confess your limitations, preconceived notions and inflexibility when it comes to accepting a broader expression of faith than what you are familiar or comfortable with.
Just a reminder: We are not advocating that all paths lead to one. While Christian expression might be varied, there are absolute essentials that exist as the foundation of true Christian faith.