Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Free at Last

Joshua 5:9

The Lord said to Joshua, "Today, I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt."

Kenneth L. Samuel

How long does it take for a victim of rape to recover from that single act of violence and violation?  How long  does it take for  a neglected child to garner a healthy sense of self-worth?  How long does it take those who commit crimes in the recklessness of their youth that carry mandatory sentencing to become fully reinstated into society?  How long does it take a woman, who has been treated for most of her life as a man's co-dependent to step into her place as a man's co-equal?

It's one thing to be released from an abuse or an imprisonment; it's quite another thing to be free from it.

In her seminal work, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Dr. Joy DeGruy argues that every African American person needs to be in therapy because we have never recovered (psychologically, economically or socially) from the multi-generational oppression and the institutionalized racism associated with chattel slavery in America.

Some forty years after the Israelites made their triumphant exodus out of bondage in Egypt, they come to a place in east Palestine where God confirms God's covenant with them through the rite of circumcision.  After marking the children of Israel as God's own, God says to Joshua: Today - forty years after your liberation from Egyptian bondage; Today - a generation after Moses led you out of captivity with signs and wonders; Today - after decades of wandering in the wilderness and countless days of anxiety regarding your identity and your destiny; Today - I am redeeming you from the profound damage of your oppression and bringing you out from under the chronic pains of your past.

We know from Old Testament history that Israel's healing did not end with this event.  Israel's history, like our own histories, is a continuing saga of recovery.

The bad news is that our healing is still in process.  And the good news is that our healing is still in process.


Gracious God, give us the wisdom to recognize and participate in the processes of our own recovery.  And give us sufficient care and regard for the healing processes of others.  Amen.

Taken with permission from the UCC's StillSpeaking Devotional.