The man at the microphone began to sob. "I've got to confess my critical spirit," he said. "For years, I've griped and found fault with everything that went on in this church. The music, the sermon, the attitudes I perceived in others . . ." He searched for words. His grief was palpable.

"All this time, I thought the problems in this church were out there," he said, pointing all around him. "God has finally revealed that the problem is in here," he confessed while thumping on his chest. After several stumbling attempts, he asked in a barely audible voice, "Can you . . . will you forgive me?"

Three people immediately came forward, embraced the man, and knelt to pray with him. The pastor, long since resigned to tears, vocalized the congregation's response: "We forgive you, John." The next confessor stepped up to the microphone.

A scene from your favorite daydream? Close. It's a snapshot from a solemn assembly.

What is a solemn assembly?


The Old Testament records at least ...

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