Trauma isolates; the group re-creates a sense of belonging. Trauma shames and stigmatizes; the group bears witness and affirms. Trauma degrades the victim; the group exalts her. Trauma dehumanizes the victim; the group restores her humanity. Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery
Meditation: To survive trauma and heal from it, we need community. The Church is an opportunity to offer trauma survivors a community. Sometimes we as church members do not even know how many trauma survivors live in our midst. This is because trauma survivors often do not talk about their trauma, as they often still feel shame or fear to be stigmatized. Christian communities can be harsh and judgmental whenever they lack grounding in God’s Grace. How can Church worldwide become a place where we allow trauma victims to be witnessed, affirmed, honored and restored in their humanity? Today we witnessed “church” happening when in the Parkland town hall meeting in FL traumatized people shared their pain, their stories, their prayers and questions with each other and the world. Victims, survivors, parents, teachers, administrators and the public of Parkland, FL came together to cry out. Moments of trauma and darkness were brought into the light. Answers of officials that were meant to “chain” and “tame” the trauma survivors’ questions, were “outed” as such and not accepted. We witnessed the powerful experience of healing community. Where in Church do we gather around the traumatized, the hurting, and the grieving in this way? Is Church worldwide still aware and involved in its mission to save individuals from their distress and isolation?
Prayer: God, the traumatized community at large, including the teachers, the youth and their parents are crying out in pain. Passionate questions are being raised about gun control and mental health support. Evasive answers are not being tolerated. Trauma is breaking out of darkness and comes into the light. Away with the answers that chain or tame the notion of what can be done. Instead a conscious embracing of the healing power that community holds. Thank you that people who are traumatized experience solidarity. Thank you that they can be angry together, cry together. Let Your Church learn from this transformative image of communal grief and healing. Amen
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Psalm 107: 13-14 (NIV)