Blog Post

What is the place of "confession" in a worship service?

john m. dettoni, ph.d.

Confession as part of a worship service – appropriate ornot, if appropriate, when?

When should confession be in a worshipservice?  Ah, good question.  My first answer is nowhere.  Perhaps this is a remnant from Roman Catholic,Eastern Catholic/Orthodox and Episcopal orders of worship.  I do not see it as a vital part of a worshipservice.  If it is, then confessionshould come before we enter into the presence of the Living, Holy Triune God toworship Him in song and prayer and Scripture. So start with confession if you must have it.  Or forget it. Having it after we worship – strange backwards (I almost wrote “backass”!!! oops, I just did! 😊) way of doing things.  Matthew 4:23 suggests that “having somethingagainst your brother” is a hindrance to worship; go get things right before youworship.  Hence my negative response to“confession” in the middle or towards the end of worship.  When I was the associate dean of the chapeland acting dean of the chapel at Gordon College, one of my first changes fordaily chapel was to reduce the number of announcements to only 1 or 2 very,very important ones before we began chapel service AND then asked the students,faculty and staff to prepare themselves to worship and learn while the organistplayed a 2-3 minute prelude.  Seemed tobe well received!  Seems to me that we needthe same approach: get the announcements over with before we begin toworship.  Then a few silent minutes (withmusic if necessary, but probably is necessary since we humans have a way ofallowing our minds to wander when there is no sound!!) of preparation for worship.  Then worship. Ah, but what is worship.  Keepchecking the Chrysalis blog for more on this.