We Have Marred Your Image in Us

We Have Marred Your Image in Us

A Confession for Good Friday

You will need:

  • Card or paper
  • Coloured pens
  • Plastic wallets or laminating pouches
  • Kitchen paper or a square of white cloth
  • Dry-wipe markers
    OR
  • Permanent markers plus ethanol / whiteboard cleaner

Draw a fancy frame round the edge of your card, because we are going to make a work of art.

God made us perfect and a reflection of himself. We are made in his image. Put your name at the top and draw a self-portrait on your card. Sign it by the artist – God.

We can see aspects of God reflected in human kindness, in beauty, in mercy. But often, when we look at ourselves and our world, we see the reflection of sin. We see bitterness, anger, greed and many other things that spoil the image of God.

Put your picture inside the plastic wallet, and use the dry-wipe or permanent markers to write or draw on your picture the things that spoil God’s perfect creation: pride, injustice, want, oppression – there is no shortage. You can add red scribble to show how God’s image in us is spoiled.

This is sin. The Bible says that sin is like a stain that ruins everything and that we cannot wash away. If you have used permanent markers, you can try to rub out the marks with your finger to show that we cannot remove the sin ourselves.

Use the first part of a confession like the one below from the Church of England’s Common Worship, pondering the line: “We have wounded your love, and marred your image in us.”

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Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,
in what we have thought,
in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love,
and marred your image in us.

We are like the ruined picture, but Jesus – the sinless, perfect son of God – is like a fresh, clean, white cloth. The Bible says ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white like snow.” (Isa 1:18)

Take the piece of cloth or kitchen paper (dampened with solvent if using permanent markers) and wipe your picture clean. The cloth now has the stain of sin, just as Jesus took our sins upon himself on the first Good Friday. He became sin for us, to make us clean and restore us in the image of God.

Say the second half of the confession:

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and lead us out from darkness
to walk as children of light.

Hear the absolution:

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Amen.

Sit in silent worship with the now sin-stained cloth, as we consider what Christ did for us on the cross.

Suggested Confession and Absolution

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,
in what we have thought,
in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love,
and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed,
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and lead us out from darkness
to walk as children of light.
Amen.

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Credits

Confession B34 from the Church of England’s Common Worship

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/common-material/new-patterns-worship/resource-section-themes/b-penitence

General Absolution

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/service-word/service-word-morning-evening-prayer-night-prayer#ch6j

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included here, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 and published by Church House Publishing.

 


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