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Confess the Good: Week 4 | Day 2

What if you were asked to confess… to all the good you’ve done? Br. Mark Brown shares how important it is that we acknowledge all the ways that God’s power is and has been active in our lives.

Question: How are you already responding to human need?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: God Sighting Map


Transcript: Sometimes when I’m leading a retreat or hearing a confession, I’ll ask people to do something that often causes some confusion: I’ll ask people to confess the good that they have done.  Not just make a list of their sins but to confess how the love, and the power of the God, have actually worked in and through them, because after all, God is present, and active, and living within us, and the impulse to do good, whatever it is, comes from that source.

If we were to make a true and full confession, we not only need to list what we’ve done wrong.  But we need to actually acknowledge the ways in which God’s power, and God’s love have worked in and through us, using our hands as it were.  So I’ll ask people to make a complete confession of these things.

And I think it relates to the Marks of Mission, because the Marks of Mission are not just something out there to do in the future.  But they are, in a sense, a recognition of what we’re already doing as a church.  Maybe not fully, or completely, or perfectly, but it’s what we’re actually doing already.  We actually are already proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and responding to human need by loving service, and other things on that list of Marks of Mission.  We’re already doing those things.  And acknowledging the reality of that, and coming to embrace the truth of that – that God is, indeed, working through us – is where we begin.

So before you think about what you might do, or what you could do to respond to human need, you might stop and reflect on how you already are doing that.  You already are responding to human need in loving service.  Think about those things.

– Br. Mark Brown

Question: How are you already responding to human need?

Week 4 Activity: God Sighting Map
This week, create your own “God Sighting Map,” which locates God’s presence and activity in your surroundings and in your interactions with others. Start close to home, then move out into your neighborhood and community. Who or what has been a sign of God’s love to you today?

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

16 thoughts on “Confess the Good: Week 4 | Day 2

  1. God has so blessed me with the health to attend almost all of the church services. Our senior deacon is in the hospital having cancer surgery today. During the time he has been absent, my pastor has called on me often to assist (as the old retired deacon) in the services. Last Sunday I delivered the homily at the nursing home where we have a service once a month. It is a joy to do these things, but, here at home, I send many cards to friends and those who are shut-ins. It is only by God’s grace and strength that, at age 86, I am able to be as active as I am, living alone, driving my car, and, occasionally, preparing a meal for my family and friends. Your posts on the internet are a great blessing to me. Thanks!

    Thanks to all of you brothers.

  2. I applaud Brother Mark’s wise conception of what a confession should include. We will indeed be much more whole if we did stop and reflect on how, what, and why we are already are doing; on how, what, and why we are responding to human need in loving service. We ahould indeed: “Think about those things.”

  3. I appreciate Br. Mark’s question, posed as it is in the context of confession in the typically breast-beating season of Lent. It is easy to overlook the good one is already doing when she is focused on naming and turning from errors, missteps, or misdirection. In naming our good, we acknowledge the light or the fire God has already lit in us and take care not to extinguish it ourselves. By doing so, we also may see more readily the light and beauty in others. For me, currently unemployed, one way my light shines is in my presence with my laid-off coworkers as we meet from time to time to share resources and encouragement in a time of uncertainty.

  4. These reflections have been soul-deepening for me. Thank you!
    In answer to this question, it’s hard to separate my work from everything else as I am a priest working in a multi-point parish. Doing good is an expectation as part of my role.
    My confession of good would include (separate from this role and yet part of it) naming the good I see others doing in their communities, in the church, in the larger world, helping them realize that they do do fine work with great care and compassion.

  5. As have just returned home after the Ordination of the new Bishop of Spokane and at a service that the Presiding Bishop spoke. I was moved to feed a homeless man at one of the stopping places of the trip. To really see him.

  6. What a refreshing perspective to use during Lent! It is a way of being a bit more merciful to ourselves to acknowledge that God’s work is already being done through us. my husband and I are automatic monthly givers to Episcopal Relief and Development and to the local classical radio station, we tithe and more to our church and serve in various capacities in that church. I am currently knitting mittens to be distributed to the homeless at our next Thanksgiving dinner and have helped see and stuff personal hygiene bags that our Daughters of the King chapter distribute at various outreach gatherings. I tutor at the local homeless shelter. We donate to the animal shelter, the local seminary, and the Episcopal children’s home. God is indeed using me.

  7. In our churches we need this emphasis and teaching of how God is present in our lives as love, strength, encouragement. As with the woman at the well, he really “saw” but did not condemn her, He was present to her.
    That is our God…..we need to be in relationship with Him! We need to move on from the way we learned about God
    75 and less years ago!

  8. *Coll. of Wm & Mary has rare exhibit,”Botticelli & the Search for the Divine,” reflecting the universal human quest.
    *preaching at local state hospital enlivens my faith.
    *public reading of Morning Prayer prioritizes prayer.
    *singing in the parish choir uplifts my spirit.
    *gardening with my wife shares vital activity.
    *keepsakes reveal my grandmother’s zeal for Mission. Thank you, God, for this work. John G.

    • at first I thought my list was small. Because of health issues there is a lot I cannot do that I used to do. But as I look at my list I see that I have changed activities and this discernment as to how I can serve is a gift of God working in me helping me find new ways of being. I am deeply grateful for this exercise to help me see this.

  9. I’m happy and a little proud to say that the older I’ve gotten the more good I have done in my life. For the past 15 years I’ve been an active volunteer in my community with many organizations, and continue to do so. Over the past few years I decided to engage more fully with my church and now instead of just attending I usher, read, alcolyte, do altar guild and am on the vestry. Next up will be serving with our food pantry in May. I have always gained so much from helping those in need. It can bother me to hear friends of mine complain about their lives while they do NOTHING to help others. Being of service has helped me feel so good and I wish they could experience the same. I want to continue to grow and evolve on the path of serving others as much as I can as a way to reflect God’s love within me.

  10. I think that my main supporting role is that of supporting my wife in her kind, non-self-serving ways. She spearheads the Outreach committee at our church, and I’ll be working at her side for many of our outreach efforts. But beyond that, we will also go out of our way to help people who lead much more challenging lives than do we. And help sometimes means really going out of our way, or buying them bus passes, or bringing them food. I’ll give most of the credit to my wife for taking the initiative, but I find that helping her in these endeavors has made me feel the love of God, through her, and from the warm flush of satisfaction I get knowing that we helped spread God’s love to someone who really needed to feel it …

  11. Wow, Brother Mark, your request that we acknowledge the good we are already doing is a very compassionate thing. Thank you for the permission to celebrate the good work I do. The thought of it is refreshing!

  12. God moves through me as I mentor Education for Ministry, help plan events to bring neighbors together for fun and fellowship, manage our church bookstore, and intentionally develop and maintain friendships. All of these things are possible through God’s moving in my life.

  13. at first I thought my list was small. Because of health issues there is a lot I cannot do that I used to do. But as I look at my list I see that I have changed activities and this discernment as to how I can serve is a gift of God working in me helping me find new ways of being. I am deeply grateful for this exercise to help me see this.

  14. I think this a very freeing thing to do and one we so often do not allow ourselves. Somehow it seems wrong. And yet we need to see, not what we have done but what God has done through us. It is so easy to despair at this world and yet there are points of light everywhere. It gives us hope and peace just to see where God has taken us and the energy to keep on

  15. Thanks Brother Mark! As I reflect on this I find my contributions are a list of small things responding to opportunities which God puts in my path, rather than major and ongoing service except to my family. I must continue to be vigilant; recognise and act on these small opportunities to love and care not only for my fellow person but also for all of God’s creation which sustains the planet and life. I do not confess them or talk about my successes as I serve out of love and not for recognition. When the challege is tough I ask and do receive God’s help which is often in the actions of another person. I believe in the interconnectedness of all across the full time-space continuum.

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