The Super Bowl commercial which had me roaring in laughter was so funny to a level that my son, sitting next to me, did not understand. People handing M&Ms bags to others, specifically the scene in the Catholic church, visualize a great old wooden confessional box and a man re-opening the door at the end and handing a bag of M&Ms inside, saying: “I wish you didn’t have to hear all that.”
I laughed from a deep spot of surprise and understanding. It was too long a discussion to explain to my son. I just laughed. I’m still laughing.
Lately, I’ve been watching MASH reruns, and it’s one of the rare TV shows which included discussions of God including a tremendous portrayal by William Christopher as Father Mulcahy. Real discussions as well as jocularity. Intense moments of comfort and prayers shown plus reflection for many characters made possible just by the presence of a man of God. (Sometimes our faith helps others just by seeing our steps). We also see Father Mulchahy’s own wrestling of his faith in war. What any military minister experiences in war must be a challenge. This 1981 episode “Identity Crisis” has an injured soldier in a grave sin. Literally, as he switched dog tags with his dead friend who had orders for discharge, with intentions to to fake his way back to the states as a dead man rather than risk his own skin again. Grave sin in a dead man’s skin. Because of the info on the stolen dog tags, they gave him the wrong blood type; his friend’s dog tags which also had him notated as Jewish. The doctor noticed the symptoms of switching blood; the priest noticed the symptoms of confusion over him saying “yeah I’m orthodox” but not knowing much of Judaism. But when he did finally confess up, in confessional, there was no confusion about the steps to absolution of his sin. Father Mulcahy, in the middle of the private moment said so plainly: I can’t grant absolution when there’s no repentance. How can I?… He needed this young man to level up on his own. He presented encouragement to own up, reading him letters from the dead man’s own blood relatives.
Confess UP. Level UP. It’s both to give UP the truth and acknowledge that the Truth is UP.
Confessional forgiveness only comes from acknowledging your own sinful skin needs saving… and Christ forgiveness comes from Him, and we need to acknowledge that our own sin needs repentance. It is not just worldly sin we make, it’s our broken inheritance of original sin, our default of being lost, blind, and in the mud. We climb UP from the mud, but we need to seek the washing clean up from Jesus. We need to empty our sin and our skin of our ways and fill up with Him. Jesus took our skin and our sin and replaced it because He is our Kin.
Forgiveness only comes from UP, meaning from our Heavenly Father UP above our world, by allowing Jesus who gave UP His worldly skin for our worldly sins. Jesus put His Godliness into a tight space of one human form, but His Power over death was and is uncontainable. His death was ripping open the direct path to God. Our death is just part of passing through His ripped body as our confessional. No M&Ms needed, not even the wrapper of your earthly body enters thru, UP into His glory.
Jesus hearing our confessional AND knowing repentance won’t need M&Ms to sooth His ears. He already knows your rap better than the crinkling of your wrapper.
Asking somebody like a fellow person for forgiveness might seem like you are putting them through a rough spot, but asking Jesus? He helps us feel that JOY in spirit now – He already went thru the roughest of death – we need to confess we can never understand how rough it was for Him. Jesus takes us UP away from sin – ours and everyone’s who sheds their skin to Him. Let that sink into your skin.
Praise Him. Raise Him. Confess UP to Him.
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great JOY — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” Jude 1:24-25.