We had the most unusual service today at Portico. The passage was from Joshua and Pastor Doug taught on how the Israelites defiled themselves by one person stealing items that had been consecrated to God, and as a result the battle was lost and the Israelites are found fleeing in retreat. Pastor Doug expounds to say that that was the obvious cause of their defeat, but not the only one. They also did not pray or consult God for direction prior to going into battle.
God answers Joshua by instructing the Israelites to cleanse themselves and then come forward into God’s presence. Here is where the service becomes unique. The pastoral team, represented by Pastor Doug, and the church elders proceeded to put the sermon into practice by presenting themselves and the congregation to God in a prayer of confession and forgiveness. It was a beautiful prayer, written out for the congregation to follow. Upon completion of the prayer, they consecrated it by holding communion.
This is the only time I can ever remember the church pastors and elders coming together publicly during the main service to confess and ask forgiveness for corporate sins of the church. It was incredibly moving and inspiring.