This has been a week especially saturated with conversations about sexual violence in the news and in everyday interactions. We know that many of you are walking through life with your own painful stories that come to mind palpably when you encounter these conversations. We see you. You are not alone. You are loved. If you are in need of someone to talk to, you can contact any of the pastoral staff, the local Advocacy Center (advocacycntr.org), or RAINN (rainn.org).
If you are someone who does not carry pain like this, please know that there are people for whom these conversations are portals to the worst moments of their lives, and that should have a bearing on how you speak. During lent of 2016, we had several liturgies naming sexual violence as a cultural sin. A main idea at the beginning of that journey was that the ways we try to distance ourselves from the pain of others are fundamentally out of sync with the way of Christ:
If you’re a person who has not experienced violence like this up close, you might be tempted to feel as though you have the luxury of viewing a situation like this from afar without it being your problem, distancing yourself from any responsibility to minister to those affected, to see them, to listen to them, or to do whatever people who are truly appalled or horrified by an event do. But we would be hard pressed to find a single situation related to the dignity of a human person of which Jesus thought He had the luxury to say “it’s not my problem.” And when we look at Him, and look at ourselves, we see a difference, and though we scramble to find a way to say that that is not so, it is, and this difference is sin. This, this self-distancing, is the sin that tries to keep itself hidden in our culture of violence.
If you’d like to look back over those liturgies, you can find them here:
Or if you would like to see the Prayers for Survivors liturgy that we pulled from for our prayers and litanies, you can find that here: https://drive.google.com/…/0B6g7URlRpOe7T1M1UzQtUVlCaHM/view