Hello Broadway Family,
This coming Sunday, 3/12, I preach! I always love preaching, and after my internship is done I will miss preaching for you very much.
This week, I'll be preaching about the Living Waters of God's grace, forgiveness and love. For the Reading from the World, our reading will include the topic of moral injury.
What is "moral injury"? Moral Injury is what happens to your spirit when you violate your own personal moral code, your values. It's a harm you've caused that hurts your heart to even think about.
I first heard of the term when reading the book, "Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War" by Gabriella Lettini and Rita Nakashima Brock for seminary. It focuses on soldiers who have committed harm in the line of duty, and often under commands from senior leaders. It's a good book, but it's also a disappointing book. I was hoping that the book would give religious leaders, like me, prescriptions for how to help people with moral injuries. I wanted a step-by-step instruction manual for easing the pain of someone who has caused harm. It didn't offer that.
What it did offer, however, was a deeper understanding of how it hurts a person to cause harm to others. And, it offered some in the way of solutions. For one, speaking the truth to someone who has been in similar situations, can relieve the load immensely. For soldiers, this means sharing the regrets with another soldier, as a civilian is less likely to understand fully what it means to be in the pressure-filled situation of war. For folks in 12-step programs, such as AA or NA, part of the healing process involves telling another human being the nature of your wrongs, and this can mean your sponsor, another person who has walked through those same steps about their regrets as well.
And, bring these concerns to God! God loves us completely, even in our missteps! God the creator knew us when we were still forming in our mother's tummies, God loves us completely even when we've done wrong. God offers healing and soothing Living Waters of grace and forgiveness, through Jesus, so that we may all have the freedom to acknowledge what we have done harm and so that we might find healing and restoration in God's warm embrace.
We are ALL more than the worst thing we have ever done, one of the reasons I am so interested in prison ministry and restorative justice practices. I can imagine a world where we can freely speak about ways we've hurt each other, in a way that offers honesty and reparation to victims, without casting out anybody. Throwing people away doesn't heal victims, and it often creates more trauma. This vision, of a different way, includes LOVING accountability and an invitation back into Right Relationship for those who have stepped outside of their values.
This week, I invite you to reflect on ways you could speak truth about ways you have not lived up to your values standards. I'm available to listen, if you need someone to talk with. And, offer truth to God, asking that the grace of Jesus wash over you and through you.