Archive for March 26th, 2023

Out of Darkness

Written by Russell Jeung, a sociologist of Asian Americans, race, and religion. He spent over two decades in assisting refugees to resettle in the United States. This is an excerpt from his book “At Home In Exile.”

Ultimately, God is making us a home, where he will host us as his guests and children. This honor at a party, as exemplified in the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), brings me to my final thought about being at home in exile. My neighbors and my daughters dislike being called “refugees.” They are disturbed by the stereotype of refugees as poor and hapless. Not surprisingly, they are ashamed of being displaced and without a home. As an Asian American, I can understand the deep sense of shame that a lot of Asians feel. I am very conscious of how others see me, and if I do lose face, I want to run away and hide. The Bible also talks about shame. It addresses this topic much more than it discusses the Western notion of guilt because Jesus lived in a shame-based culture. For every time guilt is mentioned in the Bible, shame is addressed three times as often. So, Jesus’ sacrifice not only deals with our guilt, but God also addresses the shame of our sin. While shame drives us away from God in embarrassment and fear, the death of Jesus reconciles us to him and restores our honor. This Asian view of salvation—that God rescues me from both my guilt and my shame—has revived my worship, such that I often weep upon taking Communion. I love singing about how God has brought me out of darkness and hiding into his marvelous light; about how I am unworthy, but he makes me blameless and pure; and that my shame is gone, and now I am honored as his child. I’ve always wanted to be special and unique in this world. What I’ve learned from my family and gained from my refugee neighbors is a more precious gift. I have come to realize that both now and, in the future, each of us is honored as a guest of the King. Even despite our temporary sufferings, in the midst of this fallen world, and in light of our shame, God knows our yearnings. Given his loyal love and his overwhelming peace, all of us—refugees, foreigners, aliens, and strangers—can learn to be at home in exile.


Today’s prayer is from the Universe of Faith website.

I come before you Lord, with all the things that make me feel shameful, weak, vulnerable. You know everything about me. You’ve seen me embarrassed, running breathlessly for a place to hide; you were with me when I was afraid. You know exactly what makes me feel insecure and fragile. And yet, you love me unconditionally. You look beyond all that fills me with shame and see me for the precious, unique person you created, a child of God. Help me to accept my limitations, my faulty tendencies, and my unhealthy attachments. Help me to embrace my wounds and expose them to your loving healing touch. Thanks for loving me just as I am. In you and only you I find my rest, Lord God, forever and ever. Amen,

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