Summary: A sermon about Jesus reversing the shame brought on by Adam.
"No Longer Hiding in Shame"
It has been defined as "a painful feeling of humiliation or distress."
Many scholars agree that it is "the most disturbing experience individuals ever have about themselves; no emotion feels more deeply disturbing..." because "the self feels wounded from within."
It is the feeling or thoughts that we are somehow wrong, defective, inadequate, not good enough, or not strong enough.
It has been called the "master emotion" because so much of our experience is filtered through this lens.
It warps and confounds our understanding of ourselves and others and leaves so many of us living with the question: "What's wrong with me?"
When it is repressed it is usually expressed in indirect ways such as anger or boasting.
It may be what is behind a personality that appears to be rigid or judgmental.
It can lead to a host of psycho-social problems: depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, infidelity, withdrawing from society, and even suicide.
It is one of the most painful and difficult emotions we deal with.
It is internalized and deeply connected to our sense of who we are.
It is different from guilt.
Guilt can lead to healing.
This emotion is never healthy or useful.
I would imagine many of you have figured out what I am referring to by now.
I'm talking about shame.
While everyone feels shame, most of us don't recognize it in its many forms.
We can experience fleeting shame at burping too loud in an elevator.
Or we can feel chronic shame, thinking that, as a whole person, we are flawed and inferior.
The most intense feeling of shame is humiliation.
Humiliation is so painful that we can think: "This is so painful I wish I could just die!"
Why am I bringing all this up?
I am bringing this up because, although there are many aspects of this morning's Gospel Lesson that I could preach on--Shame--is one aspect that I have never approached--but it is here!!!
As a matter of fact, it has been in the Bible ever since Genesis.
I believe it was hard-wired into our DNA when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden.
Remember what happened?
As soon as they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "they both saw clearly and knew that they were naked.
So they sewed fig leaves together and made garments for themselves."
Then when the Lord Who loved them and created them and knew them better than they knew themselves came walking in the garden: they hid themselves because they were ashamed.
"Where are you," the Lord God called out.
"[We were] naked, and hid [ourselves]" was their answer.
And we have been hiding ever since.
It never seems to end, or does it--or can it?
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning, Peter and John are in a boat.
They and some of the other disciples had been fishing all night, but they hadn't caught a thing.
Early in the morning, "Jesus stood on the shore."
He called out to them to cast their net on the other side of the boat.
He promises them that they will catch some fish if they do so.
And so they did, and they caught so many fish they "couldn't haul in the net."
Then, the disciple John recognized Jesus and said to Peter: "It's the Lord!"
And we are told in verse 7 that "When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water."
Isn't that a peculiar detail to put in this story?
Usually, if there is a specific detail in the Bible, there is a good reason for it.
We are not usually told what people are wearing or not wearing in the Bible.
And for instance, we aren't even told the color of any of the disciple's hair.
We don't know what Jesus looked like, although the Prophet Isaiah did insinuate that there would be nothing particularly attractive or special about His appearance.
So why are we told, in John Chapter 21:7, that Peter liked to fish naked?
Or that he had fished naked that particular evening, and then before he jumped in the water to swim to the Lord he wrapped his coat around him to cover his nakedness?
He didn't seem to mind being naked in front of John and the other disciples.
Why would Jesus be any different?
Well, we must remember that Jesus is God.
And so, Peter, becomes self-conscious of his nakedness, just as Adam and Eve did before God.
The difference between Adam and Eve and Peter is that, although all three dressed themselves--Peter didn't hide when God appeared.
Peter jumped in the water and swam as fast as he could toward the One he knew loved him more than anyone in the world!!!