Jesus was consistently and heroically concerned with the healing of human shame, fear, and guilt, leading to his final and full identification with all human shame on the cross—so we ourselves could become, as Paul says, “the very goodness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In a way, that is the whole message, starting with Yahweh “sewing tunics of skin” (Genesis 3:21) for Adam and Eve, because they felt so ashamed and inferior. Yahweh had just asked them “Who ever told you that you were naked?” (3:10). “I surely didn’t,” he seems to imply.
Today many would say that Christians have become major purveyors of exclusion, guilt, and shame for too many of its own people, and surely for the other religions, instead of absorbing shame, healing guilt, and living in solidarity with human suffering as Jesus did so clearly on the cross. No wonder so many no longer take us seriously. We are so unlike Jesus and the God he loved. Jesus was totally inclusive in his entire public life, and yet we created an exclusionary religion in his name. It makes no sense.
From the webcast What is the Emerging Church? (CD, DVD, MP3)
The Daily Meditations for 2013 are now available
in Fr. Richard’s new book Yes, And . . . .