SURELY WE ARE REMINDED THAT DURING THIS SEASON OF DARKNESS, WE ARE APPROACHING A SEASON OF LIGHT. THE MIRACULOUS BIRTH OF THE CHRIST CHILD REMINDS US THAT FORGIVENESS AND LOVE ARE THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER. HALLELUJAH! CHRIST IS BORN, CRUCIFIED AND RISEN. LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT! LOVE DR. B
Time does not heal, it conceals. Remember how involved I was in the ministry of the church when I was wounded? Remember how no one knew or wanted to know and how I settled into a temporary façade of “normal”? Unfortunately, churches have been slow to understand the depth of suffering among its members. Church can be just another place we go to pretend.
Passing the peace is a cursory obligation of “Hi, I’m fine and you?” Members are rarely invited to claim healing or tell their stories. Instead, church is the place where we dress up and continue the pretext of how good God is and how great he has been. There is little discussion on how difficult life is and how God could have allowed such chaos. Yet, it is the church’s job to gain entry into the world of healing without creating fear. “The church is not preaching the gospel unless it is engaged in healing work,” Francis McNutt, a spiritual leader and healer says. How and when is the church going to step with authority into its role as healer? When will they proclaim the power of healing prayer as loudly as they ask for money during the offering? Are they ever going to expose church members and leaders when they act as perpetrators or ignorant enablers?
Recently, a generational communion for families was held in my church. After prayer and meditation, worshippers diagrammed their family tree going back five generations, listing wounds, weaknesses and strengths. Ministers invited participants to take communion, bring their family diagrams and leave them on the altar. The ministers blessed the family histories and then burned them, effectively burning and releasing hurts and wounds that had caused suffering for decades. Naming my families problems—obesity, food addictions, diabetes, high blood pressure, peripheral neuropathy, sexual abuse, pornography, racism, jealousy, sibling rivalry, cancer, resentment, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, pride, addiction and physical abuse, I diagrammed wounds. I named gifts like service to others, gratitude, cheerfulness, love of Christ, good health, hospitality, intelligence, beauty, creative and musical talent. Heading to the altar for communion, my heart lightened and peace enveloped me as I laid my family tree on the altar. Walking away, I felt the connected to my ancestors.
Surely God listens, cares and wants to restore our lives– but we have to help. This fight against trauma and violence demands our awareness and intention because without our eyes that see, our ears that hear, and our tongues that report and tell, God is without soldiers in this battle. And yet, here we are together—telling, listening, and changing the world as Jesus Christ, the consummate listener and storyteller, cheers us on from his seat at the right hand of God where he intercedes for us and for all victims. Forever.
As people continue to tell me stories, they no longer hurt me, because now I listen not with my ears, but with the heart of Christ. And the blessings of wisdom, compassion, and understanding are bestowed on both patient and doctor by a benevolent Creator who knew about abuse before time began. A Creator who knows my record is true.