“Googling” Confession and Absolution with the Confirmands and President Harrison, by Pr. Rossow

November 30th, 2010 Post by

I had a particularly long, enjoyable but exhausting day of travel yesterday on my day off and so when I rolled into the 8th grade classroom in our day school first thing this morning to begin the 5th chief part from Luther’s Small Catechism, Confession and Absolution, I was a little tired and not quite ready to dive in. So, what does a pastor do in such a situation, other than what he should do which is to suck it up and teach the lesson? Of course, he turns to the internet for amusement and hopefully some education value for the students.

Our day school comes fully equipped not only with an entire staff that is confessional and supportive of all things Lutheran, like the liturgy. (That feat took a lot of hard work and careful interviewing over the last seventeen years.) It also comes equipped with these wonderful things called smart boards. The smart boards are basically electronic chalkboards that can also access the internet. So, to get to the point, this morning I used the smart board to Google “confession and absolution” to see what came up. Two interesting things appeared on the search list.

First I came across two aquaintances who had some good stuff to say about private confession and absolution: Rev. Bill Cwirla and Rev. Mark Hein. We checked out both sites and it worked really well as an introduction to confession and absolution. Rev. Cwirla had a great postthat basically described confession and absolution, its history and its proper use. Rev. Hein’s name came up in connection to his congregation website where he posts a great page on how private confession and absolution is used in his parish.

So what does this have to do with President Harrison. Well, that is the second gift that Google gave this morning. I did a youtube search on Cwirla because I wanted to show the kids what a surfing LCMS pastor looks like. It also gave me a chance to promote Higher Things since Cwirla is the president of that fine service organization. When I did the youtube search on Cwirla, for some strange reason, the video for the election of Matt Harrison was on the top of the list. I had not watched it, other than being there live, so i figured it might be a good things for the kids to watch and for me to see again. I recommend we all listen to it at least once a month. It turns out, I should have remembered this, that it was a great lesson in confession and absolution as Harrison mentioned sin and forgiveness about a dozen times in the few minutes he spoke and of course there is that pithy line of his for the ages that goes something like this: “I congratulate the delegates on keeping their perfect string alive of electing a sinner to the LCMS presidency.”

So, the moral of the story is get some smartboards for your day school, relax too hard on your day off, be a slacker when you come back to work the next day, and do an interactive, cutting edge confirmation lesson on confession and absolution that even includes a little LCMS history for the ages. Thank you Mr. Google.






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  1. Rev. Jody Walter
    November 30th, 2010 at 12:34 | #1

    We have come to a time when there is truly no excuse for anyone. The information about confessional Lutheranism is out there for everyone to see and read.

  2. George in Wheaton
    November 30th, 2010 at 14:29 | #2

    Speaking of Pr. Cwirla, he also wrote a very good article for the Jan./Feb., 1996 issue of Modern Reformation magazine entitled “The Law & the Gospel in the Liturgy” that traces the historic elements of worship in the church, why they were structured as they were (liturgically), and why it’s been important to maintain it down through the centuries. I tried to link this blog to it electronically, but you have to have a subscription and do an archive search to get to it. Nevertheless, it’s a very worthwhile read and if you know someone who has either an old copy of MR or a subscription to log into their web site, it would be well worth the effort.

  3. Cradle Lutheran
    November 30th, 2010 at 19:23 | #3

    That, to me, is how technology should be integrated into the church. Not in the DS with the powerpoint, but in a classroom setting where kids, and adults as well, can be edified all at the same time!! Bravo, Pastor, bravo, for showing how technology should be used in a church!! Bet the kids will remember this lesson the most this year over all the others!!!

  4. November 30th, 2010 at 19:28 | #4

    That is a very good point Cradle Lutheran.

    It worked out really well because I did hand out their lesson guides at the beginning of class and as we ran across certain points in Cwirla, Harrison and Hein I was able to preview the entire unit for them by pointing to various headings in the guide.

    I am a water-color hobbyist and in that discipline we call such things – happy accidents, i.e. when a mistaken drip of pigment falls in the wrong place and then bleeds into a beautiful shape. In the case of class, I got a little silly because I was just not ready to start teaching and it turned out wonderfully!

    TR

  5. November 30th, 2010 at 21:10 | #5

    Some times the best lessons are a little serendipitous. Good use of integrating technology in the classroom!

  6. Helen
    November 30th, 2010 at 21:27 | #6

    Pray daily for SP Harrison, the Praesidium and all who would bring us back to Lutheranism!
    Pray that those who would lead us away from Truth would have a change of heart, and if not help at least not obstruct leadership under Scripture and our Confessions.

    Keep us on the narrow Way, Lord,
    out of the ditches of both Law and license!
    Lord have mercy!
    Amen.

  7. Stand up and Shout
    December 1st, 2010 at 12:41 | #7

    Cradle Lutheran :That, to me, is how technology should be integrated into the church. Not in the DS with the powerpoint, but in a classroom setting where kids, and adults as well, can be edified all at the same time!! Bravo, Pastor, bravo, for showing how technology should be used in a church!! Bet the kids will remember this lesson the most this year over all the others!!!

    Love the technology is good, just not in ds disclaimer, you likely saved yourself some serious grief with that one!

  8. Peggy Pedersen
    December 5th, 2010 at 19:22 | #8

    Recent article on private confession in Canadian Lutheran (LCC publication).

    http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/the-hidden-treasure-of-private-confession/

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