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From the West Regional Pastor: I Have a Confession to Make

April 16, 2019 No Comment

By: Rev. Robert Mohns

Rev. Robert Mohns

I have a confession to make. I have a weight problem. The weight problem I am thinking about started about this time last year. I was concerned about what I should take and the maximum amount of weight I could carry on an eight-hundred-kilometer walk. Ten percent of body weight is the recommendation. Now I am not a small person. I can carry a fair amount of weight. I discovered on my first test run, however, that I couldn’t carry that amount of weight. I pared the weight down to what I thought I could handle; that is, until I met my first seven-kilometer mountain climb. At the end of the first day even my feet felt too heavy to lift let alone a sack full of supplies! I had a weight problem.

I have an even greater weight problem. The weight of sin and the rest of the gang that comes along with it, guilt and shame, burden me down. I confess with St. Paul, “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25 (ESV)

There is roughly hewn pole with a rugged iron cross raised on it. It is located at the highest point on the Camino. The place is known as La Crux. It is one of the most visited places on the Camino attracting people from all over the world. It is the place where, for more than a thousand years, people have come to place their burden symbolically by placing a rock at the base of the cross. Today the accumulation of rock has formed a mountain on top of the mountain top. It was for me a stark reminder of Jesus’ atoning work for all those who have are weighed down by sin. The scriptures direct us to look to Jesus’ cross, to His atoning work for us. St. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8–10 (ESV)

I have confession to make. I have a weight problem. The solution for my weight problem is Jesus’ cross. His atoning work removes my sin and the weight of guilt and shame. Jesus invites all those with a weight problem to come to Him saying, in the eighth chapter of Matthew, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV)

Along the Camino road I met up with a woman in her 80’s. She virtually flew by me. I noticed how small her sack was. At the rest stop I asked her how much weight she was carrying in her sack. She said, “Here, pick it up.” It was as if the sack were packed with popcorn. This was obviously not her first Camino. How I wanted to learn from her. I asked her how she trained for walking the Camino. She responded, “Dear boy, I don’t train, the Camino is my life, I walk it all the time.”

I have confession to make. I have a weight problem. But thanks be to God He has taken my sin and its weight from me. I have Holy Absolution. My sack has been emptied and I am set free to walk life’s journey without the burden of sin and guilt and shame.

The forty days of the season of Lent is sometimes said to be the Christian’s training program with its call to repentance and faith that receives the atoning work of Christ. It would be truly sad if that were true. What would our life be like if every day was lived out on the Camino walk of confession and absolution?