Knowing the end of shame
Curt Thompson delivers a message designed to divert us onto a path heading away from shame and toward the Lord. | Jacob Knopf/ THE CHIMES
For some,this was one of the last sessions, for others, one of the first. No matter which, the last main session struck a chord in many hearts. As the audience sang songs about knowing God and his pursuit of our well being, students brought something into practice, the ability for all of us to sing unashamed to a wonderful melody which included an orchestra and horn sections. As we prayed and reflected on this joy, the Torrey MC’s Kelly and Jacob introduced Dr. Curt Thompson.
“We come to the end of Biola’s day of shame” Thompson began. After speaking upon how this day has blessed him, he returned to the question of “What story do you believe you are living?” Thompson unpacked that a Christian must live like God lives, in a way that reflects the trinity. This means that we must come into and live through community.
For this to work, Thompson suggests that we need to be vulnerable with those who are different from us. Humanity is made alive in the body of Christ, yes, but that body must be diverse and at the same time entirely unified if it is to work. The problem lies within our fallen nature, as humans we want more than anything to come into community with those exactly like us.
Jesus came and changed all of this. In the story of Jesus asking Peter the question “do you love me?” we are shown that Peter possessed shame because of his actions. Jesus, however, sought Peter out so that he can take Peter’s shame and smother it out of him.
Thompson ensuingly commentated upon the things we are shameful of, and why we try to hide them from Jesus. Jesus is already aware of what we are shameful of, and wants us not to focus on our shame, but instead focus on his holiness and forgiving grace. There are parts of us that we fear to reveal to Jesus . He however, longs to see us, he longs to know us, longs to set us free from our shame and from the shackles of evil that weigh us down.
We are important to God, thus we must find comfort in the discomfort of God’s holy gaze. Jesus is the solution to shame, by showing us our shame and bringing our focus to him. Jesus then goes one step further and tells us to go forth and love others. Since we are freed from shame, we must now return to that purpose of living in loving community. If we know God’s love, we must now find affinity in knowing others. This is how we know the end of shame.
At the end of Thompson’s time we had the blessing of ending with Story Slam. Each story had an expression of their personal strife with shame and being known by God. After each story the band played a song for us to reflect. From stories of fundraising to loss, we reflected upon the practical implications of being known by God. In the end,God is present to all despite our shames. Therefore, we must go forth from this conference with the call Jesus gave Peter, Feed My Sheep.