B Penitence

Stories from the four churches

At St Ann’s the Reader invites the congregation to kneel or sit in order to make their confession. The Reader waits for the people to settle down before inviting them to call to mind their sins against God and against their neighbour. After a time of silence for reflection, a sentence of Scripture is read aloud, the people are invited to confess their sins and one of the twenty-two authorized forms of Confession is used (here). The president prays for forgiveness using an authorized Absolution in the ‘us’ form.

The Confession at St Bartholomew’s during Holy Communion is said after the Prayers of Intercession. The priest invites the people to sit or kneel and, after a pause, reads a seasonal sentence calling the people to repentance and to make their confession. A responsive song is used to give space for reflection and to set the mood before the Confession is said. As it is Lent, the responsive seasonal Confession, ‘Lord Jesus Christ we confess we have failed you …’, is used, the priest first reminding the congregation of the response: Lord, forgive us: Christ have mercy. After the Confession, the priest pronounces the Absolution.

The congregation at St Christopher’s remain standing for the Confession, which takes place immediately after the introduction to worship. The Prayers of Penitence are introduced with the Summary of the Law, followed by a Kyrie Confession, with appropriate insertions (see here). At the Absolution, the sign of the cross is made by all, signalling their acceptance of God’s forgiveness in Christ.

At St Dodo’s it is the monthly ‘Family Service’ and the minister has decided to use the Confession at the top of page 129 in Common Worship. No indication is given as to whether the congregation should sit or kneel, so there is confusion as people look around to see what to do. After a pause while the minister finds the service sheet, the people are asked to find their sheets on which is printed the Confession. The minister invites the congregation to be quiet and remember their sins before God in silence, but without waiting begins to list in a rather harsh tone a number of sins on which the people may care to reflect and starts the Confession, inserting these sins into it. The Absolution is mumbled inaudibly while the minister continues to kneel in the stall.

How can the penitential prayers have more impact on the congregation?

At St Ann’s they have been having some teaching about sin and forgiveness. One of the results has been exploration of other ways of bringing home the reality of sin and the power of God’s forgiveness. Among other things, they have tried:

*    The use of images, objects, or simple drama related to the Confession.

*    A Kyrie Confession led by two people standing with their backs to each other, each offering a bidding in turn.

*    Changing posture, so that the congregation kneels for the Confession and stands for the Absolution. They have found that this not only reflects, but creates, an inner attitude.

*    The use of dim lighting to create a penitential atmosphere. They found this could be achieved very simply by lowering or switching off the lighting after the introduction, and switching it on again at the absolution.

*    The burning of incense or aromatic oils to make the congregation smell ‘sweeter’, and the sprinkling of water over the people as a sign of cleansing.

Where is the best place in a service for confession?

At St Christopher’s several weeks are being devoted to teaching on epentance, confession and forgiveness. As a result the worship group has recommended that the Confession be used at different points in the service:

*    In both A Service of the Word and Order One Holy Communion, the usual place for the Prayers of Penitence is going to be – as in the Common Worship books – after the Greeting (and Prayer of Preparation, if it is used) in the Gathering part of the service. But as it is also possible for it to come later in the service, those who plan the worship will pick up when there is a need, for example, to respond to a sermon with penitence, and put the Confession after the sermon or with the intercessions.

*    A Service of the Word opens up the possibility of Penitence coming towards the end of the service, as its climax. There might be some occasions in the traditionally penitential seasons of Lent or Advent when this might work well.

*    The worship planning group will also look for occasional opportunities for using material for corporate preparation for confession. This might be done in silence; whilst sentences or passages of Scripture are read aloud; or by the singing of a suitable hymn or song, either corporately or by a solo voice. The material in A Form of Preparation on pages 161-165 of Common Worship will also provide a resource for this.

How to introduce the Confession

The minister at St Dodo’s had been on a diocesan day on ‘Preparing for Worship in Advent’ but ignored all the points made there about the importance of introducing the Confession properly. As the handout said:

*    The purpose of the Invitation to Confession is to encourage people to call their sins to mind and to give them space to do so.

*    There should be time for silent reflection between the Invitation and the Confession. This may be a significant period of silence, with a structure indicated by the leader.

*    Words for the Invitation to Confession are provided for each part of the year in the Seasonal Provisions pages in Common Worship (page 300ff), but any suitable words may be used, and other options are provided in New Patterns for Worship. Looking at the examples there will help those constructing their own invitations.

*    Words taken from one of the readings may be suitable, but care needs to be taken that the words will not be misunderstood when heard outside their biblical context. This is one example, using Matthew 1.21 as the inspiration for a Christmas invitation to confession:

Hear the words of the angel to Joseph:

‘You shall call his name Jesus,

for he will save his people from their sins.’

Therefore let us [kneel/stand and] seek the forgiveness of God

through Jesus the Saviour of the world.

Can forms of confession and absolution be written for special occasions?

Only forms of confession and absolution which have been authorized may be used. This includes all those in the Holy Communion services and in the Confession and Absolution section of Common Worship (page 122f), as well as the forms in The Book of Common Prayer. The reason for this is that the issue of penitence and reconciliation is a controversial one in the Church of England. Limiting the options in controversial areas such as this is intended to promote unity and avoid unnecessary division. The best way to incorporate words designed for a particular occasion, if one of the seasonal thematic confessions is not suitable, is to use the Kyrie option, which provides for the insertion of ‘short penitential sentences’ between the petitions of the Kyrie.

How are Kyrie Confessions constructed?

The note at the top of page 133 in Common Worship indicates that the Kyries may replace any form of confession, provided that the sentences inserted between the petitions are of a penitential character. Examples are given on page 133f. and pages 277-278 of Common Worship, and more can be found here. The appointed psalms and readings might be the first place to look for suitable sentences from the Bible. Theuse of a concordance, in book or electronic form, may be useful in leading to other biblical sentences, though it should be noted that the sentences do not have to come from the Bible. The sentences should not be too long, and the three should match each other in length and pattern. As the rubric in Common Worship, page 170, makes clear, if the Kyrie has been used as the confession, it should not be used again before or after the absolution.

Here is an example of a Kyrie Confession for Holy Week, which is clearly linked to a particular passage of Scripture:

We watch at a distance,

and are slow to follow Christ in the way of the cross.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We warm our hands by the fire,

and are afraid to be counted among his disciples.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

We run away,

and fail to share the pain of Christ’s suffering.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Does it matter which absolution is used?

If possible, an absolution should be chosen which reflects the style (in language, length and theme) of the confession, and also of the occasion or season. A penitential service, in Advent or Lent, for instance, may need the kind of confession and absolution which gives people more space for reflection. In this section, absolutions are suggested for each confession to assist in this choice, but any authorized absolution may be used. The printing of any of these absolutions in either the ‘you’ or ‘us’ form has no doctrinal or other significance. In each case, either a ‘you’ or ‘us’ form can be used (though those not ordained priest should use the ‘us’ form). Words in italics indicate the points where changes may be necessary.

Invitations to confession

General

B1

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

So let us turn away from sin and turn to the Lord,

confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Matthew 4.17

General

B2

Brothers and sisters,

as we prepare to celebrate,

let us call to mind our sins.

General

B3

The gospel calls us to turn away from sin

and be faithful to Christ.

As we offer ourselves to him in penitence and faith,

we renew our confidence and trust in his mercy.

Father, Son and Spirit

Lament

B4

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.’

We long for the fire of God’s cleansing

to touch our unclean lips,

for our guilt to be removed and our sin wiped out.

So we meet Father, Son and Holy Spirit

with repentance in our hearts.

cf Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4

Father, Son and Spirit

B5

St Paul says

‘Be imitators of God;

love as Christ loved;

do not grieve the Holy Spirit;

put away all anger and bitterness,

all slander and malice.’

So let us confess our sins to God,

who forgives us in Christ.

cf Ephesians 4.30 – 5.1

God in creation

Lament

B6

Human sin disfigures the whole creation,

which groans with eager longing for God’s redemption.

We confess our sin in penitence and faith.

cf Romans 8.22,23

Christ’s coming

Lament

B7

When the Lord comes,

he will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness,

and will disclose the purposes of the heart.

Therefore in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.

Christ’s coming

B8

Christ the light of the world has come to dispel

the darkness of our hearts.

In his light let us examine ourselves and confess our sins.

Incarnation

B9

Hear the words of the angel to Joseph:

‘You shall call his name Jesus,

for he will save his people from their sins.’

Therefore let us seek the forgiveness of God

through Jesus the Saviour of the world.

cf Matthew 1.21

Incarnation

B10

As we kneel with the shepherds before the newborn

Christ child,

we open our hearts in penitence and faith.

Incarnation

B11

The grace of God has dawned upon the world

through our Saviour Jesus Christ,

who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us confess our sins.

cf Titus 2.11-14

Cross

B12

God shows his love for us

in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Let us then show our love for him

by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Romans 5.8

Resurrection

B13

Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

cf 1 Corinthians 5.7,8

Ascension

B14

Jesus is our high priest, tempted like us, yet without sin.

He lives for ever in heaven to intercede for us.

Through him we approach the throne of grace

with confidence,

and confess our sins.

cf Hebrews 4.15,16

Ascension

B15

Seeing we have a great high priest

who has passed into the heavens,

Jesus the Son of God,

let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith,

and make our confession to our heavenly Father.

Holy Spirit

B16

The Spirit of truth will convict the world of guilt

about sin, righteousness and judgement.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit.

In sorrow we confess our sins.

cf John 16.8

Holy Spirit

B17

What God has prepared for those who love him,

he has revealed to us through the Spirit;

for the Spirit searches everything.

Therefore, let us in penitence open our hearts to the Lord,

who has prepared good things for those who love him.

cf 1 Corinthians 2.9

Holy Spirit

B18

The Spirit of the Lord fills the world

and knows our every word and deed.

Let us then open ourselves to the Lord

and confess our sins in penitence and faith.

Word

B19

The word of God is living and active.

It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

All is open and laid bare before the eyes of him

to whom we give account.

We confess our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Hebrews 4.12

Lament

B20

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

Our sins accuse us.

We confess them to God.

cf Psalm 51.17

Lament

B21

The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,

and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

Psalm 51.17

Lament

B22

Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God,

though we have rebelled against him.

Let us then renounce our wilfulness and ask his mercy

by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Daniel 9.9

Relationships and healing

Lament

B23

Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the cross

so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness;

by his wounds we have been healed.

Let us confess our sins.

cf 1 Peter 2.24

Relationships and healing

Incarnation

B24

The sun of righteousness has dawned

with healing in his wings.

Let us come to the light of Christ,

confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Malachi 4.2

Relationships and healing

B25

Jesus said, ‘Before you offer your gift, go and be reconciled.’

As sisters and brothers in God’s family,

we come together to ask our Father for forgiveness.

Matthew 5.24

Relationships and healing

B26

We come to God as one from whom no secrets are hidden,

to ask for his forgiveness and peace.

Relationships and healing

B27

The grace of God has dawned upon the world

with healing for all.

Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins,

seeking healing and salvation.

cf Titus 2.11

Living in the world

B28

Jesus saw the city and wept over it,

because it did not recognize the time of God’s coming.

We confess our part in the self-centredness,

blindness and sin

of the life of our city/community.

cf Luke 19.41

Holy Communion

B29

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

as we gather at the Lord’s table

we must recall the promises and warnings

given to us in the Scriptures.

Let us therefore examine ourselves and repent of our sins.

Heaven

B30

Christ calls us to share the heavenly banquet of his love

with all the saints in earth and heaven.

Knowing our unworthiness and sin,

let us ask from him both mercy and forgiveness.

Heaven

B31

Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,

let us also lay aside every weight

and the sin that clings so closely,

looking to Jesus in penitence and faith.

cf Hebrews 12.1

Heaven

B32

The saints were faithful unto death

and now dwell in the heavenly kingdom for ever.

As we celebrate their joy,

let us bring to the Lord our sins and weaknesses,

and ask for his mercy.

Confessions

Where absolutions are suggested, these are designed to match the Confession with an absolution of similar style or which picks up similar themes or which is appropriate for the same season. They are suggestions only – other absolutions may be more appropriate for particular situations.

General

B33

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,

we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,

in what we have thought,

in what we have said and done,

through ignorance, through weakness,

through our own deliberate fault.

We have wounded your love,

and marred your image in us.

We are sorry and ashamed,

and repent of all our sins.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

who died for us,

forgive us all that is past;

and lead us out from darkness

to walk as children of light.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B78

General

B34

Almighty and most merciful Father,

we have wandered and strayed from your ways

like lost sheep.

We have followed too much the devices and desires

of our own hearts.

We have offended against your holy laws.

We have left undone those things

that we ought to have done;

and we have done those things

that we ought not to have done;

and there is no health in us.

But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us sinners.

Spare those who confess their faults.

Restore those who are penitent,

according to your promises declared to mankind

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,

that we may live a disciplined, righteous and godly life,

to the glory of your holy name.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B80

General

B35

Almighty God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

maker of all things, judge of all people,

we acknowledge and lament our many sins

and the wickedness we have committed time after time,

by thought, word and deed against your divine majesty.

We have provoked your righteous anger

and your indignation against us.

We earnestly repent,

and are deeply sorry for these our wrongdoings;

the memory of them weighs us down,

the burden of them is too great for us to bear.

Have mercy upon us,

have mercy upon us, most merciful Father.

For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that from this time forward

we may always serve and please you in newness of life,

to the honour and glory of your name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B76

General

B36

Almighty God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

maker of all things, judge of all people,

we acknowledge and confess

the grievous sins and wickedness

which we have so often committed

by thought, word and deed

against your divine majesty,

provoking most justly your anger

and indignation against us.

We earnestly repent,

and are deeply sorry for these our wrongdoings;

the memory of them weighs us down,

the burden of them is too great for us to bear.

Have mercy upon us,

have mercy upon us, most merciful Father,

for your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that from this time onwards

we may always serve and please you

in newness of life,

to the honour and glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B76

General

B37

Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B80

General

B38

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

we have sinned against you

and against our neighbour

in thought and word and deed,

through negligence, through weakness,

through our own deliberate fault.

We are truly sorry

and repent of all our sins.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

who died for us,

forgive us all that is past

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B70

General

B39

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

we have sinned against you,

through our own fault,

in thought, and word, and deed,

and in what we have left undone.

We are heartily sorry,

and repent of all our sins.

For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B74

General

B40

God of mercy,

we acknowledge that we are all sinners.

We turn from the wrong that we have thought and said

and done,

and are mindful of all that we have failed to do.

For the sake of Jesus, who died for us,

forgive us for all that is past,

and help us to live each day

in the light of Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B84

Father, Son and Spirit

Ascension

Word

B41

O King enthroned on high,

filling the earth with your glory:

holy is your name,

Lord God almighty.

In our sinfulness we cry to you

to take our guilt away,

and to cleanse our lips to speak your word,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

cf Isaiah 6

Suggested absolutions: B77, B80

God in creation

B42

[We confess our sin, and the sins of our society,

in the misuse of God’s creation.]

God our Father, we are sorry

for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,

and acted ungratefully.

Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,

but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied,

but ignore the cry of the hungry.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We are thoughtless,

and do not care enough for the world you have made.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We store up goods for ourselves alone,

as if there were no God and no heaven.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

Suggested absolution: B72

Christ’s coming

B43

[Come, let us return to the Lord and say:]

Lord our God,

in our sin we have avoided your call.

Our love for you is like a morning cloud,

like the dew that goes away early.

Have mercy on us;

deliver us from judgement;

bind up our wounds and revive us;

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

cf Hosea 6

Suggested absolution: B73

Incarnation

B44

[Christ the light of the world has come to dispel the

darkness of our hearts. In his light let us examine ourselves and confess our sins.]

Silence is kept.

Lord of grace and truth,

we confess our unworthiness

to stand in your presence as your children.

We have sinned:

forgive and heal us.

The Virgin Mary accepted your call

to be the mother of Jesus.

Forgive our disobedience to your will.

We have sinned:

forgive and heal us.

Your Son our Saviour

was born in poverty in a manger.

Forgive our greed and rejection of your ways.

We have sinned:

forgive and heal us.

The shepherds left their flocks

to go to Bethlehem.

Forgive our self-interest and lack of vision.

We have sinned:

forgive and heal us.

The wise men followed the star

to find Jesus the King.

Forgive our reluctance to seek you.

We have sinned:

forgive and heal us.

Suggested absolution: B79

Cross

B45

Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess we have failed you as did your first disciples.

We ask for your mercy and your help.

Our selfishness betrays you:

Lord, forgive us.

Christ have mercy.

We fail to share the pain of your suffering:

Lord, forgive us.

Christ have mercy.

We run away from those who abuse you:

Lord, forgive us.

Christ have mercy.

We are afraid of being known to belong to you:

Lord, forgive us.

Christ have mercy.

Suggested absolution: B78

Resurrection

Heaven

B46

Jesus Christ, risen master and triumphant Lord,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins,

and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

We have lived by our own strength,

and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived by the light of our own eyes,

as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived for this world alone,

and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

Suggested absolution: B80

Christian beginnings

B47

God our Father,

long-suffering, full of grace and truth,

you create us from nothing and give us life.

You give your faithful people new life in the water

of baptism.

You do not turn your face from us,

nor cast us aside.

We confess that we have sinned

against you and our neighbour.

We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.

Restore us for the sake of your Son,

and bring us to heavenly joy,

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B81

Lament

B48

[Let us admit to God the sin which always confronts us.]

Lord God,

we have sinned against you;

we have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us

and restore us to the joy of your salvation,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

cf Psalm 51

Suggested absolution: B71

Lament

B49

God our Father,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins.

For turning away from you,

and ignoring your will for our lives;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish,

without thinking of you;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do,

and think and say;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For letting ourselves be drawn away from you

by temptations in the world about us;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For living as if we were ashamed

to belong to your Son;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

Suggested absolution: B69

Lament

B50

Almighty God,

long-suffering and of great goodness:

I confess to you,

I confess with my whole heart

my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments,

my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking;

the hurts I have done to others,

and the good I have left undone.

O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;

and raise me to newness of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B76

Lament

B51

My God, for love of you

I desire to hate and forsake all sins

by which I have ever displeased you;

and I resolve by the help of your grace

to commit them no more;

and to avoid all opportunities of sin.

Help me to do this,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Suggested absolution: B70

Relationships and healing

B52

[Let us return to the Lord our God and say to him:]

Father,

we have sinned against heaven and against you.

We are not worthy to be called your children.

We turn to you again.

Have mercy on us,

bring us back to yourself

as those who once were dead

but now have life through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

cf Luke 15

Suggested absolution: B83

Living in the world

God in creation

Church and mission

B53

Lord God, our maker and our redeemer,

this is your world and we are your people:

come among us and save us.

We have wilfully misused your gifts of creation;

Lord, be merciful:

forgive us our sin.

We have seen the ill-treatment of others

and have not gone to their aid;

Lord, be merciful:

forgive us our sin.

We have condoned evil and dishonesty

and failed to strive for justice;

Lord, be merciful:

forgive us our sin.

We have heard the good news of Christ,

but have failed to share it with others;

Lord, be merciful:

forgive us our sin.

We have not loved you with all our heart,

nor our neighbours as ourselves;

Lord, be merciful:

forgive us our sin.

Suggested absolution: B82

Heaven

B54

Man born of woman has but a short time to live.*

We have our fill of sorrow.

We blossom like a flower and wither away.

We slip away like a shadow and do not stay.

Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.

In the midst of life we are in death;

where can we turn for help?

Only to you, Lord,

who are justly angered by our sins.

Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.

Shut not your ears to our prayers,

but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.

You know the secrets of our hearts;

forgive us our sins.

Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.

Eternal and merciful judge,

both in life and when we come to die,

let us not fall away from you.

Holy God,

holy and mighty,

holy and merciful Saviour,

do not abandon us to the bitterness of eternal death.

*  Alternative text:

  Those born of women have but a short time to live.

Suggested absolution: B82

Kyrie Confessions

Short sentences may be inserted between the petitions of the Kyrie, suitable for particular seasons or themes. The insertion of such sentences may replace any form of confession, provided that the sentences are of a penitential character, and are followed by an authorized form of absolution. The forms of Kyrie Confession which follow are examples only.

Father, Son and Spirit

B55

We have not always worshipped God, our creator.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We have not always followed Christ, our Saviour.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

We have not always trusted in the Spirit, our guide.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

God in creation

B56

We confess to you

our lack of care for the world you have given us.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you

our selfishness in not sharing the earth’s bounty fairly.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

We confess to you

our failure to protect resources for others.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Incarnation

B57

Christ came in humility to share our lives:

forgive our pride.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ came with good news for all people:

forgive our silence.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ came in love to a world of suffering:

forgive our self-centredness.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Cross

B58

We are often slow to follow the example of Christ.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We often fail to be known as Christ’s disciples.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

We often fail to walk the way of the cross.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Resurrection

B59

Like Mary at the empty tomb,

we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Like the disciples behind locked doors,

we are afraid to be seen as your followers.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Like Thomas in the upper room,

we are slow to believe.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Holy Spirit

Church and mission

B60

We confess to you our selfishness and lack of love:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you our fear and failure in sharing our faith:

fill us with your Spirit.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

We confess to you our stubbornness and lack of trust:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Holy Spirit

Relationships and healing

B61

You raise the dead to life in the Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

You bring pardon and peace to the broken in heart.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You make one by your Spirit the torn and divided.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Word

B62

May your loving mercy come to me, O Lord,

and your salvation according to your word:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light to my path:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

O let your mercy come to me that I may live,

for your law is my delight:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lament

B63

Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Against you, you only have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

cf Psalm 51

Church and mission

Living in the world

B64

In a dark and disfigured world

we have not held out the light of life:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

In a hungry and despairing world

we have failed to share our bread:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

In a cold and loveless world

we have kept the love of God to ourselves:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Relationships and healing

B65

Friend of sinners, you bring hope in our despair.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Healer of the sick, you give strength in our weakness.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Destroyer of evil, you bring life in our dying.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Living in the world

B66

God be gracious to us and bless us,

and make your face shine upon us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May your ways be known on the earth,

your saving power among the nations:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You, Lord, have made known your salvation,

and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Living in the world

B67

Lord Jesus, you wept over the sins of your city.

On our city: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds of sin and division,

jealousy and bitterness.

On us: Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you bring pardon and peace to the sinner.

Grant us peace: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Living in the world

B68

You made us to be one family,

yet we have divided humanity.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

You were born a Jew to reconcile all people,

yet we have brought disharmony amongst races.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You rejoice in our differences,

yet we make them a cause of enmity.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Absolutions

All of these absolutions are authorized for use with any authorized Confession. Indications of themes and seasons should be understood as suggestions only.

The printing of any of these absolutions in either the ‘you’ or the ‘us’ form has no doctrinal or other significance. In most cases, either a ‘you’ or an ‘us’ form can be used (though those not ordained priest should use the ‘us’ form). Words in italics indicate the points where changes may be necessary. Absolution B75 is intended for use by those ordained priest.

General

B69

The almighty and merciful Lord

grant you pardon and forgiveness of all your sins,

time for amendment of life,

and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

General

B70

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

General

B71

May almighty God,

who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,

bring you his pardon and peace, now and for ever.

Amen.

General

B72

The Lord enrich you with his grace,

and nourish you with his blessing;

the Lord defend you in trouble and keep you from all evil;

the Lord accept your prayers,

and absolve you from your offences,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Amen.

General

B73

May the God of love

bring us back to himself,

forgive us our sins,

and assure us of his eternal love

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

General

B74

May almighty God have mercy on us,

forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

General

B75

God, the Father of mercies,

has reconciled the world to himself

through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ,

not counting our trespasses against us,

but sending his Holy Spirit

to shed abroad his love among us.

By the ministry of reconciliation

entrusted by Christ to his Church,

receive his pardon and peace

to stand before him in his strength alone,

this day and evermore.

Amen.

General

B76

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

who in his great mercy

has promised forgiveness of sins

to all those who with heartfelt repentance and true faith

turn to him:

have mercy on you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and bring you to everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Father, Son and Spirit

Cross

Holy Spirit

B77

May the Father forgive us

by the death of his Son

and strengthen us

to live in the power of the Spirit

all our days.

Amen.

Resurrection

B78

May the Father of all mercies

cleanse us from our sins,

and restore us in his image

to the praise and glory of his name,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Relationships and healing

Incarnation

B79

May the God of all healing and forgiveness

draw us to himself

and cleanse us from all our sins,

that we may behold the glory of his Son,

the Word made flesh,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Relationships and healing

B80

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Living in the world

B81

Almighty God,

who in Jesus Christ has given us

a kingdom that cannot be destroyed,

forgive us our sins,

open our eyes to God’s truth,

strengthen us to do God’s will

and give us the joy of his kingdom,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Living in the world

B82

May God who loved the world so much

that he sent his Son to be our Saviour

forgive us our sins

and make us holy to serve him in the world,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Heaven

Holy Communion

B83

May God our Father forgive us our sins,

and bring us to the fellowship of his table

with his saints for ever.

Amen.

Heaven

B84

May God our Father forgive us our sins

and bring us to the eternal joy of his kingdom,

where dust and ashes have no dominion.

Amen.