One of the most powerful things I have read over the past year was an editorial by Phil Klay, who recently won the National Book Award. I read his book, too, and it’s good, but he wrote a brief editorial for the New York Times called, “After War, a Failure of the Imagination.” He was a war veteran who was talking to a victim of abuse and they were talking about their experiences of trauma—and she said to him, twice, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to compare my experience to yours. I could never imagine what you’ve been through.” And yet, she did not say to him, “You wouldn’t understand my experience.” Kay says that people become trapped—those who have experienced trauma become trapped by the notion that what they have experienced is incommunicable, inexpressible. And others are trapped by curbing their moral imagination, retreating from real trauma and problems and thus, thinking that healing and restoration are unattainable. Klay says that “Believing war is beyond words is an abrogation of responsibility—it lets civilians off the hook from trying to understand, and veterans off the hook from needing to explain. You don’t honor someone by telling them, ‘I can never imagine what you’ve been through.’ Instead listen to their story and imagine being in it, no matter how hard or uncomfortable that feels.”
Maundy Thursday / March 1, 2015
Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church
Reverend John Zachary Flack
Psalm 116:1, 10-17
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-7, 31b-35
I wonder if we know how the disciples felt this night, those millennia ago. They had followed Jesus into the city, hearing the crowds acclaim him as king. They have seen him stride through the temple, throwing the tables of sale to the ground and whipping the entrepreneurs in the courtyard. And now, the night of the Passover, they must be on fire with expectation—this is the Messiah, this is the one they’ve longed for, hoped for. Now is the moment of their liberation; now is the moment of freedom. Now, they must believe, now he will finally show himself in glory and expel the unclean and th unrighteous. And what does Jesus do? He starts stripping. And then he gets towel, and he kneels at their feet like a servant, and begins the work of a lowly slave.
Our Saviour's Atonement Lutheran Church (ELCA)
178 Bennett Avenue,
New York, NY 10040
one block west of Broadway
at 189th Street
We are within walking distance of both the 1 and A trains as well as the M4, M100, and Bx7 bus lines.