Friday, July 10, 2009
Healing from our Christian trauma.
Mark 6:14-29: John the Baptist's Head on a Platter
This text is gave me pause. How do you find "good news" in a story about a beheading. Particularly a story that exists as a foreshadowing of more death to come.
Yet, for anyone who has felt like the they have been stalked by death, chronic illness or who have been silenced by a political system that gets rid of hope and truth, this text may feel like it speaks to our situation. And perhaps it could be seen as "good news" because it speaks to our fears and anxiety.
But, as a pastor who works with those who don't have the ability forget their trauma - and sometimes feel like trauma of the past is still happening to them today I'm more comfortable when "good news" to provide hope for a better future.
The condition of being stuck in trauma is called post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's something I'm getting intensive training to help people heal from. And the results have been stunning. I'd even say that it's been miraculous. Read Pastor Jay's thoughts about this work.
I wonder sometimes if Christians need trauma care. Death on a cross is a form of biblical terror and one that we keep inflicting on others - expecting others to live on a cross. Some Christians keep reliving and reenacting the cross ~ which to me seems to fit the mold for PTSD.
So perhaps the hope and healing comes in our remembering that this trauma is John's (and Jesus') not ours. We are alive and we should celebrate that. Even more so, we should do what we can to live fully, to improve our health and to heal from our trauma. And then of course work for all of this for our neighbors as well.
Baptism is one way that Christians seek to encounter their deaths. While we continue to remember our baptisms throughout our lives, we don't continue to live in a Good Friday space. Instead we strive to live in the resurrection, in our Easter.
"Good news" if you're reading this, it's safe to say that your head is still attached to your body. You are alive. Be Whole. Live in forgiveness. And Go in Peace.
Proper 10B/Ordinary 15B/Pentecost 6