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    Rev. Cameron Schnarr

Beautiful Savior Lutheran School

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Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, Canada
King of Shame

King of Shame

Based on the Introit for the First Sunday in Advent (Zech.9:9b and Psalm 25:1-3)

Preached on Nov 30, 2016 (Midweek Advent 1)

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Behold, your king is coming to you
Righteous and having salvation.
To you, O LORD,
I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame;
Let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
They shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Fellow baptized saints, what is it like to be embarrassed? You know - - that awful moment when you realize people can see. They can see what you’ve done. They can see what you don’t want anyone to see. You thought you had it covered. You thought you had a handle on it. But it’s out. In the open. For people to point at, spotlight, whisper about. It’s out.

You feel like a fool. They know. Or a disgrace, ashamed. Guilt all exposed with nowhere to hide, and it makes you want to scream. Yes, it makes you want to die. Crawl into a hole and die.

The Lord is going to do something to you tonight. He is going to come to you. Are you ready? Behold, your king is coming to you. Are you ready? No, you don’t get to go check yourself in the mirror. You don’t get a minute to get your life in order. The King of the universe is coming to you.

Shame is a powerful thing. Have you noticed the power of shame increases with the importance of the person who sees it? You aren’t as concerned if a homeless person sees you fall, as if your co-workers or your boss saw you fall. The teenager can bear some reproach from mom and dad, but would be totally ashamed in front of friends. Shame and honour are connected. The more honour you give a person, the more shame you would feel before them. Now picture that One person – the person you respect the most - the person you think is the most honourable – the One you want to make proud – to be like – to aspire to – look up to - what if that One sees? What if that One sees the darkest, most painful part of your shame?

Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation.

Embarrassment is a messy thing, isn’t it? It creates distance, a wide birth, space – because people do their best not be associated with the guilty, foolish and disgraceful. You get left alone in your shame. Even the people you love find it difficult to get near you, because they fear they will be “painted with the same brush.” Shame is easy to share – and people know it – they clear from the shame zone quicker than a bomb threat, even as they stare and blend in with the gawkers. They get far away so nobody makes any mistakes about who is dirtied by the shame.

The sad thing - is that we know this. In our shame, we do everything we can to keep others away from us – we know they will ruin themselves by coming near – so we push them away – we won’t let them in – we try to save them from us – why should they go down with us?

Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation.

No, Lord - Don’t come near me! I am too ashamed. Stay away. I’m not worthy. I will embarrass you. You will look like a fool. You will become a disgrace. You should keep away.

Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation.

But you don’t understand – I am contaminated, defiled, dirty, filthy, unclean – I will ruin you – my shame is so thick it will rub off on you. My sin is my enemy. It exults over me. It keeps showing me I’m a disgrace. It lords itself over me. Stirring up regret and remorse, sometimes as powerful as shame’s first sting. Stay away, Lord. Stay away.

Beloved, I am not afraid of your shame. I am here for you. I don’t come to expose you, but to cover you. I don’t come to reveal you, but to hide you in Me. I don’t go running, I am coming to you. Into your shame. Specifically for your shame. I am going to take it. Unite myself to it. Make it my own. Become it. I am your king.

When first I came, they called me a fool. When first I came, they declared me guilty. When first I came, I was a disgrace. Spit on, naked, mocked, beaten, crucified. And not in private, but in the sight of all. Not in hiding, but in order to reveal. Not screaming, but in silence. I am your king.

Beloved, I am not afraid of your shame. I am the King of your shame. Your shame is mine, and my honour is yours. For this is why I come, righteous and having salvation. This is what I bring you. My honour. My Name. Spoken over you. Placed upon you. Watering you and cleansing you and renewing you. I am your king. Open wide the door to your heart. Don’t hide anything any longer – for I rule you with honour and mercy and grace.

You come to honour me, Lord, I trust you with my heart. You come to cover my shame. Lord, I trust you with my shame. Here’s my soul Lord, protect it. Keep it. For I cannot. In You alone I trust.

Fellow baptized saints, this introit exposes and comforts us at the root of who we are. It offers us the gentlest, most loving and forgiving master. And promises us a place of honour in His presence. He comes as our champion. To ride and fight and die. But not in the way we’d expect. He doesn’t come down in His glory and fight the evidence against us, like we’d expect Him to do. Full assault against those things that shame us – deny them – prove they are wrong – No – He takes them. Removes them. Covers them. Suffers them. Kills them. In His own body. And says, I am your king.

Back in the garden, when God covered Adam and Eve’s shame and nakedness – He shed blood. He killed another living being in order to cover their shame with skins. That is Christ. He is the blood-shed One. Your cover. Your clothing. The One you wear to cover all your shame. And He comes to with full restoration, calling on you to trust Him with your soul. That you might proclaim with the psalmist: “Indeed! None who wait for you shall be put to shame.”

The Lord is going to do something to you tonight. He is going to come to you. Are you ready? No. You could never be ready. But He comes anyway because He is your king. In His Holy Name, Amen.

Rev. Cameron Schnarr