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by Susan Russell

Last week in his sermon “Staying on Message” when Ed Bacon cited this frequently quoted quote “Hurt people hurt people” I watched as literally dozens of people reached for pens to write it down on their liturgy bulletins.

I think it touches such a chord in part because it is such a brilliantly condensed “sound bite” of a key spiritual reality that challenges all of us in one way or the other. And because as members of what our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls “The Jesus Movement” our collective challenge is to be part of healing that hurt — in ourselves and in one another.

Enter Richard Rohr — the gifted Franciscan author and teacher who will be with us at All Saints in April. In a recent reflection, Rohr wrote:

Healthy religion, almost without realizing it, shows us what to do with our pain, with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably give up on life and humanity.

I am afraid there are bitter and blaming people everywhere, both inside and outside of the church. As they go through life, the hurts, disappointments, betrayals, abandonments, and the burden of their own sinfulness and brokenness all pile up, and they do not know how to deal with all this negativity.

This is what we need to be “saved” from.

Mature religion is about transforming history and individuals so that we don’t keep handing the pain on to the next generation.

There are still 28 days left in Lent. What hurts, disappointments, betrayals or abandonments might you “give up for Lent” in order to transform them from pain that are destined to be transmitted into sacred wounds that God desires to heal?

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