United Church of Christ

Locating Pain

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. - Revelation 21:4 (AMPC)

I certainly look forward to a day with no more tears. At this very moment I am all cried out. The community I love, where I live and serve, is all cried out. Empty without the peace one would hope accompanies such a release. Perhaps because too often marginalized communities aren’t allowed the time for the wounds caused by loss to even begin to scab over before there is news of another, and more tears come.

I believe in the power of lament. I believe in the healing properties contained in our tears. But damn, enough is enough! What will happen does not always provide comfort and hope during what has happened.

A Facebook post by the Rev. Naomi Washington-Leaphart puts these very real feelings into words: “Sigh. O death, here is thy sting. And here. And here. And there. And over there. And yonder. And thither. And right there.”

Reading the words over and over, I knew in my gut that they were not words of resignation but more of a spoken ritual of healing that begins with recognizing where the harm has located itself. What damage has been caused. Noticing it. Pointing to where it hurts. Locating the pain and naming it.

We each contribute to healing by refusing to look away.

This is hard heart work. Empaths definitely need accomplices in the work. This is when we who call ourselves followers of Jesus show up as “warrior healers,” as defined in Another Way: Living and Leading Change on Purpose.

Prayer

Yes, God we trust that you will … and in the meantime, we rebuke the lies of empire that teach us to look away, and we recognize the beauty and brokenness all around us with the eyes of our heart, your heart. Amen.

About the Author
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.

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