This past Sunday we heard the good news that, in the realm of the heavens that Jesus has established among us, we can let go of our relentless striving for status and rest in the fierce love God has for each of us.
Jesus teaches us how to do this: by humbling ourselves and becoming like those with no status, and by welcoming and honoring each other as those with the highest status, especially those pushed to the margins. In doing so, we welcome Jesus himself in our midst.
One of the ways we’re learning to do this as a church is by becoming more trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive, and trauma-responsive.
Especially for those or us with some kind of religious or spiritual trauma, all kinds of “normal church stuff” can be triggering, which makes it difficult to connect with God and others in community. It can often feel like we have to choose between taking care of ourselves and connecting with God. What a painful experience this is for many of us!
We may organize a larger church discussion around these issues at some point in the future, but for now, I want to make sure you know that if you have some kind of religious or spiritual trauma, that it’s not your fault, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian. The tragedy of trauma is that it is so often accompanied by shame, which further compounds the trauma.
In his book The Wild Edge of Sorrow, Francis Weller says that to loosen shame’s grip on our lives, three moves are needed (generally in this order):
- From seeing ourselves as worthless to seeing ourselves as wounded.
- From seeing ourselves through the lens of contempt to seeing ourselves through the lens of compassion.
- From silence to sharing (but only with people you fully trust to care for you).
Sharing our trauma, and the accompanying shame messages, is a form of grieving. And grieving is part of how we heal from trauma, because grieving, by its very nature, confirms worth: I am worth crying over; my losses matter.
As leaders, we are seeking to make The Table a community where you are seen, welcomed, and honored for your courage. I know that just showing up for church can be difficult for a lot of us! Know that you are deeply loved, no matter what.
Let us continue to become a community that trusts Jesus together, where those members of the body who seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we think of as less honorable we treat with special honor. As we do so, we deepen our participation in the life God shares with us, which is what it’s all about!
Grace and peace,