Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Naked Seed

Adam and Eve crouched in the Garden, peering out between the branches of the brush in an attempt to seek the Lord from their hiding place, and here, they felt the full weight of shame, though they searched for the smallest measure of glory.

That's really the trouble, and it's the trouble we all have. From our place in the underbrush, we are aware primarily of the disconnect between our own shame and the glory of God. We cannot help but feel our nakedness; the vines tickle against it incessantly. Nagging, nicking, picking at our exposed souls until it's more than we can possibly bear. It is from here that we search most earnestly for God, for glory, for anything that will take away the itch. 

It is from here that we seek so desperately to find, though we long not to be found ourselves. 

But it's a funny thing about glory - it is best seen in wide open spaces. It is best seen in bold faith. It is best seen in courage. It is best seen when we choose to stand up, to come out from behind the things that obscure our line of sight. When we stop looking through our fingers and through the leaves and dare to let our eyes catch a full glimpse of the Lord passing by.

Of course, such faith means also that our Lord gets a full glimpse of us.

He gets a full glimpse of our fallenness, sees the full expose of our shame. It's funny, though - our shame isn't shame to Him. He's not embarrassed for us, the way we think He might be. He's not embarrassed for Himself, the way we think maybe He might be. He's not embarrassed at all by our shame the way that we are or the way that we would be if we saw someone else exposed. He's heart-broken. 

We know this because of the way He responds to Adam and Eve. When He sees them naked in the Garden for the thousandth time, hiding in shame for the first, His response is not, Oh my! You're NAKED! as though nakedness itself were some sort of terrible thing. His response is rather, Who told you that you were naked?

And really, this question is a question of the reverse. The question is not who told Adam and Eve that they were naked, but who told them that they didn't have to be. Who told them that they shouldn't be? Who told them that there were other options besides "naked"? And, by the way, the answer here is nobody because whoever seems to have convinced them that they were naked did not offer to make them any clothes; only God does that. So it's a seed planted without covering.

Gather that. The seed that exposed our shame is a naked seed itself. It was given empty, bare. It promised nothing but ruined everything.

That's what shame does. It's a waste. It plants itself in open fields, then lies fallow because there never was any life in it. There never was a way for it to produce anything at all. What it does is to take up a space that doesn't belong to it, to prevent anything else from growing there. 

What it does is convince us that we must not be seen, not because it is important to shame that we be hidden but because shame understands that though we seek, we can never find if we cannot be found. 

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