A Well-Examined Life?

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive
us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue
us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives
according to thy holy Word,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Book of Common Prayer 


Today is Yom Kippur, one of the holiest of days for my Jewish friends and co-workers. Yom Kippur has a two-fold theme: atonement (kapparah) and cleansing (taharah). Self-examination and fasting is part of the day’s religious observances. Many of my co-workers and friends are spending time today reflecting and repenting, and remembering that sin always deserves punishment.

Even non-Jews can participate, to take time to reflect. At work, we were challenged to do this by our boss. To make time to consider how we could be better people, better friends, better family members. It was a good reminder. Reflection, confession and receiving forgiveness are acts that take time. They are not rote. They need intentional awareness.

IMG_6499I went about my morning doing some chores like laundry and dishes, using the time to pray. The house was quiet, and I tackled one of my least favorite chores: cleaning the bathroom. (It’s not that I don’t clean my shower. I do. I just don’t give it a good scrubbing. More like a lick and a promise.)

There’s nothing like really doing a deep clean to find all of the bumps and imperfections. Where you need to do a quick fix or a careful repair. Where you find dirt that you didn’t expect to find dirt. (And are left to wonder, why were there spiders living UNDER the seat in our shower?)

For many of us in Christendom, we participate in services each week that include an element of confession. The words are familiar, we can almost say them from memory. Sometimes, we say them on autopilot.

My intention this week is to pray with more attention to my words. To make them heartfelt, honest and real. I want my prayers to be a “deep clean” — not just a lick and a promise.


O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant us thy peace.

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