Good News for the Traumatized // Isaiah 42:1-4

Christ’s way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound, whole soul shall ever enter into heaven.
— Richard Sibbes

Every person experiences trauma at some point in life. And when this trauma takes place in a context of heightened vulnerability, say during childhood or within a trusting relationship, its devastating effects often reverberate for decades. Trauma can so alter a person’s view of themselves and the world that relating to others can prove near impossible. Like communication between alien species, misunderstandings abound. That difficulty tempts many of us to withdraw from the traumatized, or perhaps to offer glib fixes. But doing so forfeits seeing one of the great glories of God -- namely, that he is re-creating all things from the very fiber of trauma. God is remaking the world through the cross of Christ. In other words, apart from the trauma of Christ we are incomplete. But as his trauma manifests in us, we learn the language of heaven.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the Heavens and stretched them out,
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; 
I will take you by the hand and keep you.”
Sing to the Lord a new song, 
his praise from the end of the earth.

I will give you as a covenant for the people, 
a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind.
Sing to the Lord a new song, 
his praise from the end of the earth.

I am the Lord; that is my name; 
my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Let us give glory to the Lord, 
and declare his praise in the coastlands.

I will lead the blind in a way they do not know, 
in paths that they have not known I will guide them.
Let us give glory to the Lord, 
and declare his praise in the coastlands.

I will turn darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
Sing to the Lord a new song, 
his praise from the end of the earth.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Where is the hope for the traumatized? 
Where is the justice for children who have been taken advantage of, 
or the vindication for the falsely accused? 
Our Father, we confess that we often imagine a savior other than you. 
We imagine a mighty warrior, not a suffering servant.
Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to receive your Son.

We imagine versions of justice that are more swift and effective than yours.
Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to receive your Son.

We would rather have relief from our pain than wait for you to rescue us in full.
Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to receive your Son.

In becoming like us, you were abandoned by family and friends,
stripped of dignity, publicly humiliated, tortured and killed, though you were innocent.
Praise be to God, the one who sees us.

You defeated death, rose to life, and reconciled us with God.
Praise be to God, the one who rescues us.

Now Your Spirit intercedes for us, and prays for us according to our needs.
Praise be to God, the one who heals us.

You are the hope for the traumatized. In faithfulness you will bring forth justice;
You will not falter until it is established on the earth.
Praise be to God, Amen.