by Dr. Beverly Wallace

And they spoke in many languages, speaking of the one true God as they received the Holy Spirit.

The world was ablaze. The system as they knew that been disrupted. Their understanding of who God was and what God desired had been turned upside down, because the one who was to have saved them had died and, in the rumors, told by many, he had ascended into heaven. What were they to do after this traumatic experience?  What were they to do as the system for all had been encountered with a new reality in so many ways.

You see, when a system is confronted with what is perceived as a threat, it usually defends itself by shutting things out to maintain the system’s balance. The way the system operates is determined by a set of spoken and often unspoken rules and roles that specify how individuals within the system contribute to the functioning of the whole.  One must maintain the status quo. Everything is to remain the same.  And know this too: the system will hide its defenses. But Jesus’ death and resurrection changed all of that.

And then there was Pentecost.  In the midst of reacting to the loss of their savior. In the midst of reacting to the news of the Resurrected one, something happened.  Pentecost.

For the past several months we have been talking about Trauma. I mentioned before that the death of Jesus itself was traumatic. What does one do after a traumatic experience?

Know that past traumatic loss and unresolved mourning heightens vulnerability to subsequent losses Persons experiencing losses, especially when traumatic intersecting with current life cycle passages often express attachment-commitment, separation or engaging in self-destructive behavior. It is important to explore past traumatic losses and their legacy. The death of Jesus was such a loss.  But if one’s support is increased to meet the demands, one can ride out the pressure and regain equilibrium or a flexible equilibrium called resilience.  I believe God knew this, thus sending the Comforter. So the Holy Spirit descended.

Grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians can confront death and trauma in the sure and certain hope of their own resurrection. Grieving with hope means giving vent to the full range of one’s emotions.

Womanist theologian, Emilie Townes, in her book, “In A Blaze of Glory” defines spirituality as the deep kneading of humanity and divinity into one breath, one hope, one vision.” She says that spirituality is a way of living and a style of witness.

Engaging in “spiritual vitality, living with “hope” even in the “holler”, engaging in spiritual practices, waking up from cultural customs of deceptions and engaging in truth telling, speaking one’s truth in the language of our own, these are ways of moving toward “healing” AFTER PENTECOST.

Imagine AFTER PENTECOST, if those who have been traumatized in ways that have us a bit confused, if we embrace our spirituality with a Transformative Vision that “Incites dreams, passions, images, and contemplation about one’s well-being and dignity”, knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us.