Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Day 4: Shameless

Today's reading: Psalm 25:1-10

O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame... (v. 2a)

How very easy it is for me to feel ashamed.

And then---to be ashamed that I'm ashamed.

How easily I become obsessed with watching the ways of those around me: They are well-prepared for this journey (I can't even decide what to pack). They have found the right path to take (I'm still fumbling with the map). They take every step with grace and confidence (I slip and stumble with every footfall). They reach destinations worth remembering (I can't tell that I'm actually getting anywhere).

And then---instead of covering ground alongside all those other travelers, I come to believe I'm walking the path alone. And instead of sharing the fellowship of other pilgrims, anxiety and shame become my companions.

But the paths of the Lord aren't peopled with that mythical, perfect They. The way God leads is traveled by Us, by all of us who have sinned, who have been humbled, who have nothing left but to trust.

And anxiety and shame are not among the Lord's intended experiences for God's traveling people. When God calls all of us to follow the ancient path, God doesn't just send us off with a "good luck" and a warm handshake, but instead leads us by hand through the treacherous places, teaches us the blessed routes, helps us to know the ways of life. Wherever God guides, the voices of anxiety and shame are quieted, and words of mercy, goodness, and love narrate the journey.

May we have ears to hear them.

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