Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26
On my way to church a couple Sundays ago, a male cardinal was stuck in the breezeway between our house and garage. He swooped by my head as I was locking the kitchen door to go out and he was terrified. I was not exactly a picture of calm myself. #OutOfNowhere
I opened the back door to help him fly out. Then I opened the front door and he escaped. But you can tell from the photo – if you look closely – that he was feeling a bit stressed. His crest looked like a bad hair day.
The online ornithologists out there said that he could be a victim of parasites or – more likely – trauma. Maybe this bird was the one in our breezeway or maybe not. But I can imagine that the trauma of banging up against glass doors for God-knows-how-long would cause one’s feathers to fall.
Trauma damages us too. There’s no doubt about it.
I believe that a strong 21st Century Church will need skills in loving and serving the traumatized. Whether our communities include war veterans, cancer survivors, abuse victims, addicts, families of addicts, or any other neighbors carrying heavy burdens, we are increasingly living among people who need lavish love. We are increasingly called to reach out to the isolated and lonely. We need tools for recognizing mental illness. We need to understand the systems that perpetuate traumatization.
Who says the Church is irrelevant?