From the Student Ministry (04.01.21)

Stretchy pants for Lent

Yes, I said it. Go on and pull up your favorite Thanksgiving dinner pants in preparation for Lenten season. You know the ones that have the elastic in the seams or that extra emergency button for those large servings of sweet potato pie?–I’m not drooling, you are!–Really, who should ever be allowed to forget the best part about Lent: FAT TUESDAY!? Or as we more scandalously know it: Mardi gras! 

Traditionally this is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday when we get all the party out of our system before the great fasting through Lent. In Rio this day is Carnival; to our great friends across the pond it’s Pancake Tuesday; and if you wanna be all somber and liturgical about it you can just call it Shrove Tuesday. That’s what we talked about last month in Youth.

Shrove, the past tense of shrive, means to obtain absolution of sins through confession. This began as just a large feast to eat all the more decadent things so they would not go to waste during the fasting period. It grew, however, and in the spirit of making sure there was something to actually confess, people began to go out and partake in all kinds of things that would most certainly need to be confessed. Then, come Ash Wednesday, they hurried to the nearest clergyman and unloaded it all. 

What we are most focused on in Youth is the idea of confession and how it functions between one another now in our personal and communal lives. I have been talking with the Youth about how Jesus’ act brought reconciliation and restoration to all the relationships in our lives: between us and God; us and others; us and ourselves. His ministry was about how we can live out the best relationship between these areas through following God’s commands. Confession deals specifically with the relationship between us and others. In James 5 it says we should “confess one to another so that you may be healed.” 

Confession is a tricky thing for the Protestant church. As we found, it is also a tricky topic for the everyday teenager. Some of us felt that confession really is just for God and that there should be no kind of separation or middle person. Others felt that we could confess to others because it strengthens our community and support between one another. A general consensus was that not everyone should hear your confession and that not all confessions are equal. So regardless of what exact place you find yourself in the argument, Scripture is challenging. There are no specific guidelines as to whom to confess or what qualifies as confession. God kinda makes us search it out for ourselves. 

What I challenged the youth to do and what I leave with you is this: You should be wise about whom you confess to because not everyone is worthy of your confession, not everyone will take it to God with you; and you should seek to be worthy of others’ confessions by helping them take them to God. 

During this Lent season, as we honor Christ’s life and sacrifice, we should seek to be brothers and sisters who help others lift up their confessions to God so that they can find healing.