By Kwasi Kena
(James 1:19-20) You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness (NRSV).
It’s not normal…to hurry…to shut up.
Shhh…I have to remind myself to listen:
So I won’t speak too soon
So, I won’t say what I’ll later regret.
Slow down anger
Slow down careless thought
to hear God whisper
the right things to do and say.
Pause and hear.
Prayer of Confession
(Based on Mark 7:1-23)
One: We do it this way.
Many: We say it like this!
All: Because we have always done it this way!
One: Loving God, we stand before you today
confessing that we have been slow to listen
for the new directions that the Wind of your Spirit might be blowing.
We have relaxed into the complacency of routine.
We have come to value skill at keeping our own rules
more than we value hearing your plans for the day.
O God, examine our hearts.
Reveal our motives.
Expose our intentions.
All: Cleanse us. Forgive us. Have mercy on us.
Turn our eyes toward you. Help us understand what you really want from your people and help us become the people that honor you and glorify your name
Words of Assurance
One: Hear the good news! The Lord forgives our sins and renews our hearts. It is God alone who restores the joy of our salvation. Receive God’s grace. Receive God’s mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
All: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
Kwasi Kena is retired elder in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. He is currently serving as Associate Professor of Ethnic and Multicultural Ministries at the Wesley Seminary in Marion, Indiana. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Safiyah Fosua.