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

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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