SERMON TITLE: “Post-Traumatic Advice”
SERMON TEXT: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: Nov. 13, 2016, Presentation of Vets Tribute Run Check ($8600)
to GEW Vets Home, Honoring Vets & Active Military, Post-Election Thoughts
I’m so glad our church has sponsored the Veterans Tribute Run and Chili Cook-off for nine years now, and that we are able to provide a check in the amount of $8600 for quality-of-life activities for the veterans and spouses who reside at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home. Our hope is that, in this act of support, our veterans and their spouses might see that we acknowledge and care about the real suffering they have borne on our behalf. Far too often, our troops have come home with wounds to their bodies, their minds, and their spirits—only to have those wounds be denied or dismissed rather than treated with respect and dignity.
The need to acknowledge the sacrifices and trauma experienced by our veterans is one reason why I have chosen to preach from Jeremiah 29 today. Another reason is that, even when we human beings aren’t subject to the damaging effects of war and military service, we can and do experience other kinds of traumatic and shocking events that cause us grief, damage our sense of well-being, and put us on edge. Whether such experiences come from domestic violence, a natural disaster, a car accident, a sexual assault, or the unexpected election of a new president—we find ourselves suffering from bad dreams, feeling afraid and panicked, over-reacting with anger, feeling depressed or on high alert, and worrying excessively about the future.
Because sometimes the post-traumatic stress we feel can cause us even more trouble than the original trauma, maybe it would be helpful to connect with some biblical wisdom. So, whether you’re a veteran, someone who cares about veterans, or someone who has had some other difficult experiences, I invite you to consider what happened to the Jewish people and see what we can learn from the Prophet Jeremiah’s post-traumatic advice.