Jesus, in the good beginning, you created male and female in your image.
In taking on human existence and enfleshing yourself in human body,
you affirmed that human bodies are good.
Yet we have treated bodies You lovingly created as objects.
We speak of women’s bodies as objects to comment on.
Children’s bodies are traded for money and abused.
In our words and in our actions,
we have demeaned these vessels that hold your image.
We are guilty.
Jesus, you breathed Your Spirit into Your Church and called us to be a place of healing.
Yet when the vulnerable have sought healing here,
we confess that we have often responded with denial, fear, and self-preservation.
We have listened preferentially to voices who hold positional power,
rather than to those who have been violated and those who are most vulnerable.
We have obstructed your healing with our silence and dismissal.
We confess we are uncomfortable with the pain and anger of survivors,
As well as the behavior of perpetrators.
In our feelings of powerlessness,
we have avoided the topic altogether. We are guilty.
Jesus, You gifted humanity with sexuality as part of your good, created order,
enabling us to enjoy companionship and intimacy, form families and build community.
Yet we confess we have failed to understand and teach healthy sexuality.
We have failed to promote relationships
that are truly committed, mutual, and deeply respectful.
In doing so, we have cultivated and condoned environments
where assault and abuse can happen. We are guilty.
Jesus, you come to teach us what it means to be truly human.
But we confess we have belittled men
and defined masculinity in damagingly limited terms,
We have failed to call men up to bear the image of Christ within themselves.
We have acquiesced to society’s “boys will be boys” mentality
baptizing it with spiritual language,
and in so doing, we have damaged men and boys, women and girls.
We have disempowered women,
casted doubt on their ability to reflect the image of God,
to lead, teach, shepherd, and love.
We have perpetuated a system of hierarchy,
promoted postures that keep us defending, protecting, suspecting, fighting, and fearing,
and failed to grasp the beautiful depth of the alliance You intend
between men and women.
We are guilty.
For all of this, we repent and seek to change our ways.
Teach us to tell the truth about sexual abuse.
Help us hold abusers accountable.
Lead us to acknowledge the seriousness of this sin.
Open our hearts to listen with care to those who have been wounded.
Guide us in wisdom to protect the vulnerable among us.
Empower us to work restoratively for justice.
Revive hope for wounds to be healed, wrongs made right,
And relationships established in health, wholeness, and holiness.
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. May the God of mercy, who forgives us all our sins, strengthen us in all goodness, an by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.