Today I direct your attention to a post from Fr. Stephen Freeman. Freeman is one of the largest and most influential Eastern Orthodox bloggers, and he blogs at Glory to God for All Things.
In this post Freeman looks at shame. Shame lies at the very core of our souls and, in the Scriptures, was the first recorded human experience. It has been called the “master emotion” by some. Though we as humans were made to live in community, shame is a rupture of community in which the object of shame is isolated and (so it is indicated) deserves to be so. Shame is often disguised by other words: humility, envy, jealousy, guilt, awe, wonder, worship, and more. The exposure typical of the state of shame is such that it demands to be covered before we can enter into social settings, and there are many ways in which we do this.
All of this is the world we live in, and the world into which Christ was born. There is nothing we see that was not seen then. We have invented nothing new in our shame. Our creativity is largely confined to how we hide from our own shame and how we harness the shame of others to control and manage them.
But my thoughts say to me that we can only find Christ within our shame (both the toxic and the good). We find Him within the toxic because Christ has descended into hell and purposed to meet us there. That purposeful meeting is for our healing, our liberation and re-creation whenever we dare to go there. But He is also within the good shame as we behold His wonder and His glory and accept our own emptiness in their presence. And in that moment and place, what is empty is filled – what is naked is clothed upon. The soul becomes a mirror for His glory.