A sermon series inspired by the book Trauma and Grace by Dr. Serene Jones
Trauma & Healing 1 - July 4, 2021 Mark 2:23 - 3:6 Spiritual Bypassing
In our story today Jesus meets a man who is disabled due to an injured hand. Disability would have almost certainly ensured unemployment and poverty for this man and perhaps his family and poverty, history teaches us, in this time and place meant being reduced to slavery or begging to survive and also to disease and a very short life. The pious religious folks want to debate the finer points of Sabbath law Jesus wants to heal the man and give him the possibility of a full and joyful life Spiritual Bypassing is using spiritual and/or theological argumentation to distance us from the actual faithful practice of accepting and caring for those who are vulnerable and suffering.
Trauma & Healing 2 - July 11, 2021 Psalm 137 Testimony - Telling the Story of Our Injury
Psalm 137 is a particularly difficult scripture to read and apply It contains the raw emotions of anger and grief and the wish for a violent retribution against those who have attacked Judah with violence and cruelty This Psalm reminds us that God is a willing and compassionate partner when we need to vent our pain, our grief and our anger It challenges us as American Christians to cease our avoidance of lament and it reminds us that by telling our stories and naming the injustice and cruelty we see God reveals to us a path of redemption, of healing, and of justice.
Trauma & Healing 3 - July 18, 2021 Ezekiel 34 & John 20 Witnessing - Creating Safe Space for Story-Telling
The prophet Ezekiel shares an important but unsettling message from God The religious leaders and pious people of faith are letting their neighbors suffer poverty, hunger, disease, injustice. God sees this because God pays close attention to the vulnerable. God is attentive
John 20 tells the story of Thomas inability to believe in the resurrection of Jesus but what if he isn't being stubborn or prideful What if he is so traumatized by the crucifixion of Jesus he literally cannot believe, he cannot find hope, he cannot experience joy? Trauma has that impact on people And the thing that heals Thomas and allows him to live in hope again is that the God who pays attention to those who are suffering pays special attention to him, hears his painful plea and visits him restoring his hope and his life.
Trauma & Healing 4 - A New Story Isaiah 54
Part of healing from trauma, according to Dr. Jones in the book that has inspired this sermon series, is that the person or people traumatized can imagine and live into a future that is not completely controlled by the past trauma. If our scripture today from the prophet Isaiah, God delivers a message of future hope, a new story, to the people of Israel exiled in Babylon. Beyond their trauma, even in the midst of its aftermath, God is creating a future free from the loss and pain that they know.