Confession and Life

The tag line for this newsletter blog is “Confession and Life.” You might wonder why.

Confession does not refer to the sacrament of Penance in the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics go “to confession” when they wish to have the benefit of this sacrament. They are told to confess every sin to the priest, leaving nothing out. Then, the priest is supposed to pronounce an absolution and assign some work of satisfaction or penance. In theory, this is supposed to help the person feel more completely forgiven. In practice, it ends up being a way to earn God’s forgiveness. Lutherans don’t recognize this form of “Penance” as a sacrament. Instead, we recognize that God wishes us to confess our sins and to receive absolution “from the pastor or confessor, as from God himself.” We don’t assign any acts of satisfaction.

Anyway, that’s not what is meant in the tag line of this newsletter blog by the word “Confession.” Instead, it is meant in the sense of Romans 10:9, which says “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is the same way we use the word when referring to the writings in the Book of Concord, called the Lutheran Confessions. To confess Christ is to repeat the teaching of the holy scriptures. That’s exactly what this book does. Our churches subscribe to these writings as doctrinally accurate because they agree perfectly with the Bible. Another name for the Book of Concord is Concordia, the name of our congregation in Hood River. Hence, “Confession” is part of our newsletter.

The other word, “Life,” can refer to many things. Here, it does not mean the same thing as when someone sighs and says, “that’s life” or “c’est la vie” (which means the same thing). Rather, we mean it in the same way that the Bible uses it in John 11:25, where Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” Jesus spoke those words to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, whom he was about to raise from the dead. This happened in or near Martha’s home town of Bethany. Bethany is the name of our congregation in The Dalles. Hence, “Life” is part of our newsletter.

So wonder no more about this newsletter’s tag line. Confession and Life. It pretty much sums up the reason our parish exists: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior.

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You’ve found the 21st Century version of our church newsletter.  You’ll see posts here from the pastor and church members. We’ll do our best to keep the content suitable for a church newsletter, but please use the contact form on the main church web site if you see anything that shouldn’t be here.  Otherwise, enjoy and feel free to leave comments.

Every now and then, a collection of articles on this blog site will be printed into a paper version of the church newsletter.  Not every article will make it onto paper, but many could.  The newsletter will be distributed at both Bethany and Concordia, and will be available any time from the literature racks. Check back often, or better still, subscribe to an RSS feed.  That way you’ll stay up to date on the latest Lutheran “church news” in the Columbia Gorge.