Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
As I took a seat in the sanctuary, I didn’t know what to expect. A friend’s email invited me to “a Worship Service to Honor Survivors of Sexual Violence at Christ on Capitol Hill” in St. Paul. As a survivor, I was curious. I arrived early, and as I sat in the nearly empty church, I thought about just leaving. It’s difficult, sometimes, to relive the experience of surviving a horrendous event. It’s often easier just to pretend it never happened, especially after nearly five decades.
Soon the sanctuary began to fill up with women—and men! A wide variety of people took their seats until the pews were respectfully occupied. After a call to worship, we sang a hymn. Next came “Confession,” typical of a Lutheran worship service. But this was no ordinary ritual. Instead of the “congregation” clearing their minds and hearts of wrongdoing before continuing, we watched as male and female clergy congregated at the front of the chapel “to practice corporate apology on behalf of the church.” A list of confessions was read, beginning with “ways (the church has) promoted shame and embarrassment instead of power and beauty,” ending with the church having “kept silent when oppressed people have asked the Body of Christ to say something with compassion and to do something with our power.” Each acknowledgement was followed by the group of clergy stating together, “We are truly sorry and humbly repent.”
Transfixed, I was deeply moved by the simple words repeated: “We are sorry.” I recalled my own pain when some—not all—followers of Christ had turned away in horror as I shared the story of the assault I endured. Then, the clergy moved to “stations,” inviting survivors to come to them for prayer. Although I say my healing has come full circle. my request was for prayer to be freed from the constant suspicion that the world is a dark and scary place that knows no healing. I was given a beautiful prayer shawl which I will treasure as a memory of a truly meaningful day in a safe and sacred place.
Spirit of Healing, enter our bodies, minds, and spirit and restore us to wholeness. Amen
Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .