This month at First Parish we will be reflecting together on the theme of “healing.” The word “heal” comes from an old English word that means “whole,” or “wholeness.” The first dictionary definition of “healing” is “curing,” but to be clear, to become whole does not always mean to be cured. Sometimes healing is less about “fixing” or “restoring” to an earlier unbroken state and more about growing in new healthy ways.
By the time you read this week’s newsletter, we may…or we may not…know the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. As I type, votes are still be counted, and all eyes are on a few key states. What we do know is that the country remains deeply divided.
Some have already begun to talk about what it might take to heal that divide. But perhaps before we can really talk about healing, we need to look more closely at some of what has been broken:
- Many hearts have been broken by losses endured during this gravely mishandled COVID pandemic
- Some bodies have been broken by illness
- Other bodies have been broken by violence, particularly the violence of police brutality, of racism, and of poverty, which is itself a kind of violence
- Trust has been broken by white supremacy and the failed promises of a nation to ensure freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness to all its citizens
- Relationships have been broken by political disagreements or differences in deeply held values and beliefs
- Democracy itself has been broken by voter suppression and intimidation, the influx of “dark” money, and by the lack of a universally well-informed electorate
What else has been broken? What else needs healing? What would such healing require of us, as individuals and as a nation? And how can we bring healing to ourselves and others? As Henri Nouwen once said,
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. The main question is not ‘How can we hide our wounds?’…but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’”
See you in (virtual) church!