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Where Does It Hurt?

Last week we had some great guests and opportunities to explore the question where are you from? I think we heard that this is more than just a geographical question, although that can certainly come into the mix. I think we also heard that it is not really an easy question and that we cannot always know the answer just by the physical appearance of the person being asked the question. There are many things that make up the answer of where are you from, and hopefully we’ve begun to realise that a little more. This week we move onto our next question of where does it hurt? The guiding principle for this week is that we believe everyone carries hurt and has the capacity to acknowledge the pain of others. We believe God draws close to us in every moment of suffering. We commit to vulnerability and compassion. When assumptions are made, circumstances are overlooked, words are spoken in anger or jest, we can hurt people as well as be hurt by others. We all have some hurt that is always with us, that can be stirred up again when we least expect it creating a depth of feelings that can overwhelm us.

I believe that we are called to live in relationship with each other, respecting that we are all created in the image of God, and so we need to work towards cultivating the connections we have around us. With our question in mind we must first get curious about the pain others carry and the pain we carry ourselves. One of the first things we must do is to acknowledge and believe that the pain is real, for bearing witness to each other’s pain helps us cultivate compassion. In our 1 Samuel reading, Hannah’s pain is ignored, diminished, and mocked. Yet, Hannah vulnerably and courageously bears all of herself before God, which transforms Eli’s perspective. She finds release by being fully seen and known by God. In our reading from the gospel of Mark, the dual healing story of the haemorrhaging woman and Jairus’ daughter, we acknowledge those who suffer chronically and in isolation. These readings give us stories of assumption and circumstance, they tell of separation and stigma and the pain that can cause. They could also give us some insights into what we each may be feeling as the world continues to struggle with this pandemic and the anxiety, loneliness and lack of control we are all feeling to some extent, and how important it is that we acknowledge this pain that we feel.

Jay Robinson

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