Do not fear, woman, for you will not be ashamed woman; do not feel humiliated woman for you will not be disgraced woman. For the shame of your youth woman, you will forget woman, and the stigma of your widowhood, woman, you will never remember, woman. - Isaiah 54:4 (as translated in A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year W)
I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about fear.
The vast majority of my most egregious mistakes are, in one way or another, connected to my fears.
When I’m humiliated and disgraced, I fear that the humiliating object will define me and that others won’t love me. When I’m facing stigma, I fear that I will be isolated forever and no one will love me.
Out of these fears I make my very worst decisions.
God knows this, of course. God knows how afraid we are of abandonment, how scary it is to think that we could be unlovable and unloved. God knows where that road leads. Through the prophet, God speaks and says: Release that fear. Release your shame. With me there is no stigma. I am the Holy One, Your God, and nothing can shake my love.
That means you, beloved. You in your mistakes. You in the dark of night. You in the secrets of your mind. You with your past. You.
You are God’s own, God’s redeemed. Step into the light.
Whoa, God. When I truly believe in your unquenchable love, I am blown away. Thank you. Hallelujah. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.