Shame is powerful. Many people weaponize it, shaming others by whom they feel threatened in the hopes of denying their existence or stopping their voice. Many carry a deep burden of shame, too embarrassed to admit it or the causes, whether that be things they have done or things done to them. Many change ethics or norms in order to normalize that for which they feel shame.
This autumn we will be looking at shame, and how the Cross of our Lord Jesus helps us to be free of it, thereby strengthening us to love others who are affected by it. Our pilgrimage to this freedom will be through Galatians- one of Paul’s great and shorter books- in which he especially emphasizes grace.
A great way to get warmed up for our walk through Galatians would be to read it through in one sitting, treating it as it was originally written – as a letter to be read to believers – and inviting the Spirit of Jesus to speak to you through Paul’s words.
Along these lines I discovered a quite nifty resource the other day that I’d like to recommend: ESV Illuminated Scripture Journals. They “pair individual books of the New Testament with a lightly dotted blank page opposite each page of Bible text, providing space to creatively engage with and reflect on the Word of God.” They are “great for taking notes through a sermon series.” Indeed!
Regardless of whether that interests you, do please join with me in praying that our Lord Jesus would meet us deeply this autumn as we open our hearts afresh. Something special we will be doing these Sundays is offering the opportunity for people to CONFESS or CONFIDE after celebrations of Holy Eucharist at 9 and 11 o’clock.
CONFESS: a priest will be available in the small prayer room off the narthex (entry foyer) area to hear Confession. Not that Jesus does not hear you (and certainly it is Jesus who forgives you) but because sometimes these things need saying for us to be freed of them. This is for anyone, but especially for those who want to confess acts for which they still bear shame.
CONFIDE: a deacon will be available in the retreat/cry room in the back of the sanctuary as a trustworthy confidential one to tell stories of things done to (any)one for which they carry shame.
Intercessors will also be available after the Distribution of Holy Eucharist at 9 and 11 o’clock and after the 11 o’clock service to pray with anyone about, well, anything.
May Jesus Christ, who bore our sins, in spite of the shame, be praised,