Mackenzie Altman spoke Sunday about Shame and Redemption. First she told her story about how she was like many others-she was offended by something, person, incident in Church/Religion. This writer also has been bummed out by “things in Church” for sure and sat up and listened hard! Mackenzie had me! I wanted to hear this! She was raised in a church going family but found people in her life who were hateful-church people-Pastors-others. How could a Loving God allow that? So she walked away from Church/Religion in College. Then 12 Springs as it began, met one time when she just happened to be home, in her home. And then her Dad asked her to speak to us and she said, “Yes!” Mackenzie talked about Shame and the role it played in her life and that Shame is why most Christians who walk away, walk away. This was true in her life. But it is not the only truth. When we understand who God is and who humans are (at times), how we are pre-programmed to respond with fear and shame to God, we assume that we are a mistake. Shame is among the first stories in the Bible, in Torah, and how necessary it is for God to bring people back from shame. Shame is what pulls us away from God. Renee Brown states that Shame, simply put, is that we are a mistake. We are wholly inherently unworthy. It is the antithesis of connection. In Eden Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and were ashamed! But God didn't tell them to be ashamed. They did that themselves. Fear is the manifestation of shame that we put on ourselves. God is not telling us to be ashamed. We allow others and ourselves to put shame on us. And we allow others to see that we are what we think of our selves that we are a mistake. That we are unholy. We become afraid to take chances and reach out. And we are afraid of the fallout from that, the disconnection from people. In Church we inherit that feeling from others. Not the fault of God but of people. We become afraid of Judgment. But God tells us in the Bible 365 times “Do not be afraid!” And we allow fear and shame to come between us and our purpose, our calling, God's plan for us. Shame tells us that it is not for us, that we aren't good enough, loving enough, strong enough, to be loves, it keeps us from God and loving people and that connection we need. Fear keeps us from living! And that leaves us broken and that is the end of the road. And the end of Hope. But that place is the place where we find Redemption! Mackenzie, likes us, had to find desparation and that leads us to God, the place of pleading and calling out to God Psalm 61:2 “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” We know that He is there, we call out in our desperation to our Abba God! We plead and He delivers! Isaiah 43:1 says:” But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. We cry out attempting to come back into the fold because our human relationships teach us that we have to beg and plead and work to recapture relationship But God, instead is just waiting for us! And here God says “Honey, I was just waiting for you to come home to me, I love you, I forgive you, you are worthy of everything I have in my Kingdom, welcome to the table! Coming back to God is returning to your calling, to your purpose! We are fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image! He calls us His. He hears us and welcomes us back-no earning it back! We are not perfect but He is, we don't have to be ashamed of our own humanness because he welcomes us back every time. We are worthy because of what God had done and is and we are worthy every time! Wow! And I have to say here that this writer had some tears in the eye as this Word reminded me of the God who spoke to us in Jesus the story of the lost Son who comes home to the most wonderful Father in the Universe who always forgives and welcomes prodigals back! So no shame and all really is forgiven. And this message is also for you!