Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection: v. 19, ‘I will change their shame into praise’
One of the things I love most about our community is the way we affirm one another. We spend a lot of time in our community unpacking the baggage we all carry that makes us feel ‘not good enough,’ that makes us feel shame. Sometimes we all need help remembering that we are valuable and that we matter–that we are worth more than what we can do, how much we can labor, what we’ve accomplished, or what we own. We all need help sometimes remembering our inherent value. There are enough people in this world who will try to make you feel shame–including ourselves! We could all benefit from communities of love and support that are there to affirm us. Mercy is such a community for me, and for many others as well. Frankly, I believe that any church can be this kind of community of affirmation if it is invested in valuing and honoring the image of God in people. The prophet Zephaniah proclaims that God wants to turn the people’s shame into praise. As God’s followers we can do that for one another, too. We can create safe spaces where people feel welcome, not just because it says so on a sign outside, but because we affirm and love one another, because we have created embodied hospitality for another, and because we make one another feel like we belong there without shame.
Prayer God who creates us in your image, change our shame into praise!