Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Ninth Step

This week I visited the AA meeting we rent space to in our church basement. I try to stop by yearly to personally welcome them into our space. It is an honor to be a place that provides sanctuary to people. I also admire people who are in recovery, and support groups, so I really enjoy welcoming this particular group. This year I stayed for the meeting. They were discussing in depth the ninth step.

If you do not know about the 12 steps to recovery, the ninth step is about making amends to those you have harmed. This means different things to different people. For some it involves paying off debt, to others an apology (or many) is required, and for many this is just the first part of the process of rebuilding trust with their loved ones. Sometimes this is the step where they realize that there are some bridges that will never be rebuilt.

The testimonies were powerful and personal. I will be inspired by them for a long time. They made me think of the upcoming High Holy Days. Making amends is a significant part of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. In preparation for the Yom Kippur, a rigorous self-inventory is expected as spiritual discipline. One cannot atone in secret is the basic message of both Yom Kippur and AA.

For that reason, my October 1 sermon will be called "Growing Up and OwningUp."

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