Worshiping God For Salvation From Shame

God has saved us from shame unto honor, we are called to worship our Great Patron and Exalt-er.  But how exactly?  Most public worship and liturgies emphasize confession of transgressions and assurance of pardon/forgiveness, perpetuating the guilt-innocence theological paradigm.  But how can Majority World communities creatively worship God for His faithfulness in saving us from shame as well? A team of us in Clarkston, GA won a generous grant from the Calvin Institute of Calvin Christian Worship to help 10+ refugee pastors/congregations creatively express their own Exodus-like journey from shame to honor. Calvin Grant Political instability, emigration, refugee camps, and immigration/refugee experiences create not only material poverty for refugees, but also social alienation and status deprivation.  Despite the shame uniquely experienced as refugees, the Christians of ethnic congregations appropriate primarily Western theology and worship approaches for liturgy and life.  In response, our team will facilitate a year-long mentoring and collaborative process with leaders from 12-14 ethnic congregations to create, present, and memorialize a creative artifact that publicly worships God for deliverance from shame – a pivotal cultural component for Majority World Christians.   The grant project mirrors the prominent Old Testament motif of worshiping God by creatively recounting how God delivered His people from social disgrace.  Hannah’s song (1 Sam 2), Psalm 136, the feast of Purim, hymn of Phil 2:5-11, and OT narratives of Israel’s faith heroes (i.e., Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Job, Esther) epitomize the biblical pattern of worshipfully remembering God’s deliverance from shame.   Why I mention the grant:
  1. Do you know an example of ethnic arts/music addressing the themes of honor and shame?  Please share, we would greatly benefit from any examples.
  2. As you minister among the nations, how could you encourage indigenous worship, in terms of forms and content?  Perhaps this spurs some ideas for your context.
  3. FREE MONEY!!  Well, its not that easy, but they do give 30+ grants yearly, max $10,000.  Dream big…then explore here. Perhaps you will be a grant recipient next year, to advance His honor & glory among the nations!
As new forms of praise highlighting honor-shame themes emerge, we hope to share those over the next year.

resources for Majority World ministry

2 Comments on “Worshiping God For Salvation From Shame

  1. On your point 1 above:
    Indirectly related to your request – there is also the interesting search of actually finding old songs/hymns from the ‘English’ ethnicity that once included clear references to shame/honor.
    One that comes to mind is:
    ‘On a Hill Far away”
    but I have found several others:
    ‘Oh the bitter shame and sorrow”
    “Beneath the cross of Jesus”
    “Savior I now with shame confess”
    Interestingly most of these were written in the late 1800’s or at least not much beyond 1900.
    And then I have found a few ‘modern’ hymns written within the last 15 years – seems like there is a resurgence of awareness of shame appearing in Christian lyrics as it become more of an issue in society.

    On your point 2 above:
    Encouraging believers that all of life is worship – honoring God above all – and corporate worship is just an outflow of that. So as a group of believers the desire should be to in all attitude and activity of worship that God is honored above all. This can flow on to ensure that in the context of serving in the church that in God’s eyes, what culture might consider the least honorable roles and activity, are actually the most honorable to him. Cleaning toilets and stacking chairs and sweeping floors are therefore some of the most honorable acts of spiritual worship one can do! Rather than people aspiring to work ‘up the ranks’ (as they so often do in our part of the world) from usher, to home group leader to deacon to elder to pastor (and in some churches to bishop, ‘apostle’ etc), it is helping them to understand and experience the blessing and honor of honoring God, God’s way for the usefulness of the whole Body to fulfill its mission in our world!…ie following the example of ‘turning the world upside down’ not least in its view of honor, to bring blessing to the nations!

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