Confessions about our Holy Book

You gave us a holy book,
but we confess that sometimes
we use it in unholy ways. 

Sometimes it sits on our shelf, gathering dust.
We fail to wonder at it,
the miracle of stories about you,
preserved and collected.
We forget the sacrifice that was made
to write it, copy it, translate it, protect it.
We feel guilt about not reading,
but miss the invitation to communion
it offers every day.

Sometimes the opposite happens.
We become devoted to the book itself,
knowing it backwards and forwards,
able to quote chapter and verse.
The book holds a place in our heart,
where only God should be. 
We can wield it like a weapon,
wounding and pushing people away,
instead of seeing how it is a bridge
which can help us reach our neighbour.

Open us to the Spirit’s movement
in the words of this book.
Help us to hear your call to repentance,
and your eternal hope for renewal.
Fill us with longing to explore scripture.
Grant us delight in our encounters
and patience with what puzzles us.

We read this book as people together,
and as per usual, we won’t agree.
In the midst of conflict,
bless our bible-reading community.
Help us listen to the diversity of your people,
and not privilege the interpretations
of the loudest voices, or the most powerful.
Your Spirit gives insight
to even the lowest and the least.

Finally, may the words of our mouths
and the meditations of our hearts
and the actions of our lives
reflect the wisdom of this holy book,
which you have gifted to us all.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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