Shame comes up a lot in today’s reading. Suffering shame for Christ’s sake. The psalmist pleads to not be shamed, but that his persecutors be put to shame. God shames the wise with the foolish; the strong with the weak. And unless a grain of wheat suffers the shame of death, it remains alone; but if it dies, it offers much, much more.
Shame corrodes. It is rust. It is Soul–Eating Rust. It lives in the dark and tells us not only that we are unworthy of good, but we are worthy of punishment. It has us inflict punishment on ourselves. It has us punish others. On March 16, eight people were killed by a man’s shame.
Oh Lord, save us from shame.
Are we our shame? Is shame who we are? Are we our dark urges? Our dark impulses? Where is the line? Where is the line between natural desire and sinful intent? Between restraint and indulgence?
- Between self-esteem and pride?
- Between fiscal responsibility and greed?
- Between human touch and impurity?
- Between appreciation and envy?
- Between hunger and gluttony?
- Between disappointment and rage?
- Between rest and sloth?
Between acceptance of our humanity and rationalization of misdeeds?
Shame. It defines us. We are from dust, and that’s where we’re headed. Cursed. Doomed.
Unless Mercy. Unless Grace. Unless God intervenes. Unless God heals. Redeems. Redeems the shame. Delivers. From evil.
Deliver us. Set us free. Save us. Turn OUR foolishness
to YOUR wisdom, OUR weakness to YOUR strength,
OUR selfishness to YOUR love of others.
That we may walk while we have the light.
Until we return to the dust.