A watery confession

Waterfall - top of the Elan Valley, W Wales

Earlier in the summer I helped with the first two of our Summer Sunday services, which brought our 3 largest congregations together at the reasonable hour of 10am, and enabled us to minister in a unified way through all the ‘absences’ caused by Christian Conferences and the holiday season.

We used the theme of “Amazing things that Jesus did” looking specifically in an “All Age” way, at those told in John’s Gospel. One week I was leading a service focussing on the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:1-38) and wanted to make our “confession” and absolution visual in a way that the kids could watch up close.

I came up with the idea of using dirty and clean water: we started with a pint glass of ‘dirty water’ (I used a mixture of cold tea and coffee, so that it didn’t leave a residue in the glass), and talked about the need to get rid of the wrong things that we do, that make us “dirty”.

I then poured this dirty water into a bucket to go down the drain later – leaving an empty glass. As I did so we prayed the following prayer together:

Dear God
We know we are a dirty people,
We mess up, get things wrong,
Dishonour you, and hurt each other.
We are sorry.
Then using a large jug of clear, clean water I filled the pint glass up again to the point where it overflowed. As I did I talked about God’s forgiveness, about Jesus making us clean through his death on the cross, about being full again through the Holy Spirit to the point where we can over flow into the world around us and start to make that cleaner and better too. We then said the following together:
Dear God
We know that you sent Jesus,
To die on the cross for us,
And rise to life to wash us clean.
That we might be filled with the
Living water of your love and Holy Spirit.
Thank you.
Not exactly what you might call “authorised” but it seemed to work – and the adults liked the visual aid too!

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