Thursday, April 14, 2011


Years ago, in the midst of my diaspora, I was an Episcopal priest.  Now, for most Sunday Episcopalians there is the formation hour which falls between the two sunday services.  Ideally, it's a pretty neat set up when it works because it provides faith formation as well as liturgical celebration for all ages.Often I would use the time for teaching.  This was especially true at my last church since I inherited a rather low approach to liturgy and sacramental life.

I had just completed a six week series on the sacrament of reconciliation that included a psycho-social-scriptural-historical-personal witness-approach.  In one week it would be Palm Sunday and I was offering the sacrament of reconciliation during the upcoming week.

They were ready. They understood the origin and scriptural basis.  We discussed all the pros and cons and disected the famous "Why do I need to tell a priest?" argument (even though The Book of Common Prayer includes the sacrament).  They were ready.

Then came "the magic paper"

A parishioner held up a piece of paper and said: "Another way is to write your sins on this magic paper and then dip it in water and watch them disappear." 

I wanted to vomit.