For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)
One of the first insights I had about the Daily Office after I entered recovery was that, even though the rubrics say the Confession of Sin is optional at the beginning of Morning Prayer (BCP 79), for me it is required.
It’s so easy for me to be “forgetful of the cleansing of past sins,” to press forward without remembering the hard-won lessons of my recovery and my new life.
It’s easy for me to start thinking things are fine, but how quickly I can slip back into the thoughts that led me into trouble in the first place. How little I really want to do what is good, how little I want to wait for anything, how little thought I give to anyone else, how little self-control I have!
The grace that filled me when I entered recovery, admitting my powerlessness and my need for God’s help, is the same kind of grace that is given to us in the sacrament of baptism.
It occurred to me today that we make our Confession of Sin and then say the Apostles’ Creed each morning so that we do not become “forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.”
The point is not to rehearse our past sins over and over — they have been forgiven, and we are made new in baptism. Rather, the point is to learn from our experience in order to better trust in the hope we have been given.
The point is to be mindful each day of our need for God, and each day to recommit ourselves to walking in the steps laid out for us.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you. (2 Peter 1:10-11)
A Collect for the Renewal of Life
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 99)