November 5, 2014: Shameless Bride
‘Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.’ (Ps 34:5)
Today’s church is a strange blend of orthodoxy and worldliness. Recently, I heard a ‘devout’ woman rejoicing that a frustrated friend had left her husband for another woman and now lived with her. Apparently unaware of the serious impact that adultery and homosexuality might have on her friend’s three kids (not to mention the spirituality of all involved), she was glad that the two women were ‘in love.’
Shameless. We live in a day when even the churched appear clueless over the impact of crossing holy boundary lines. Making God in our own image, we assume he nods his slightly clouded mind and smiles benignly on whatever makes us feel good. He sees alright. But His is an acutely loving vision that probes beneath our wanderings and calls us back to Himself as the sole source that can satisfy us.
The Samaritan woman shared aspects of this shamelessness. Her religious training would not have challenged her many lovers. Sure, she loved God and she surely did what she wanted in the sexual sphere. Flawed religion was on her side. ‘Faith’ may have digressed into a respect for her Samaritan ‘tradition’ while bypassing a deeper reckoning with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But her shamelessness may have had another source as well. I sometimes notice in the lives of lawless ones a suffering tied to deep shame. Let me explain. Some persons grow up in a world defined by righteous ones who view sinners as outside the camp, hopelessly lost. The good shame that might expose sin and draw one into mercy becomes something else: a harsh lens through which the sinner is viewed as illegitimate, unworthy of love.
Such was the way Jews looked at Samaritans. Perhaps the latter’s history of idolatry reminded the Jews of their shame: the way that they had compromised with the Assyrians centuries earlier, resulting in the half-breed Samaritans! Perhaps for Jews in Jesus’ day, the Samaritans still represented a threat to their
purity. So Jews used the bad shame of human tradition to put Samaritans in their place. One withering glance could reduce them to a people unworthy of being seen at all.
Rebellion is often a reaction to such bad shame: ‘If that’s the way you want it, I’ll do whatever I want…’ Perhaps the Samaritan woman was fed up with being treated like damaged goods, a birthright which excluded her from Jewish purity. I surmise that such bad shame contributed to her openness to many lovers.
Jesus looked at her differently. He saw her as His bride: sinful and confused but one He deeply desired. His glance brought a whole new Kingdom to the Samaritan woman; tender, true love radiated from them and burned off the bad shame that divided her from God. His eyes invited her to stop sleeping with men unfit for her and to unite with the One worthy of all her devotion.
‘Look! There He stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice…Turn Your eyes from me; they overwhelm me.’ (Song of Sol 2:9; 6:5)
Please join us as we pray for:
Living Waters Regional Development Team: Garry Ingraham, Amy Van Cott, Andrew Comiskey, Dean Greer: For vision in developing regional leadership for Living Waters US and for the August 2015 Desert Stream/Living Waters Leader’s Summit.
Living Waters Philippines: For the Lord to continue to strengthen the leaders, Benji and Hazel Cruz and their team; and give clarity and wisdom regarding future expansion of the ministry.
Courage: For the Lord to continue to strengthen and protect the leaders: Father Paul Check, Director and Angelo Sabella, Program Manager. For grace to equip and unify chapters of Courage around the country. Also for the new Courage documentary to impact many with the message of chastity; and for no more production problems with a current media project.
“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”