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The Healing Journey: Invalidation

During Lent, Rev. Dr. Randall Partin will be preaching on The Healing Journey. This sermon series focuses on the broken relationships in our lives, and ways that we can begin to heal them. For the first Sunday in Lent, he preached on the topic of invalidation. Invalidation is, simply put, the pattern of minimizing the other, or demonizing the other, or simply dehumanizing each other. He assigned this homework to the congregation, as a way to examine experiences of invalidation in their lives:


God of empathy,

God of embrace:

your image rests in all of us,

even those we push away.

As we find the courage to welcome ones

we have seen as “other,”

may we find a clearer glimpse

of your eternal presence with us,

and discover in our encounters

our truer, better selves.

And then may we,

despite our brokenness

be received into your wholeness,

into a family where no difference

can deny that we all belong.


Prayer from Corrymeala prayers

  • In what ways or situations have you seen others minimized or dehumanized this past year?

  • What are some of the ways in which you see people being ‘othered’ in society?

  • Take some time this week to pray and to ask God to show you ways in which you might be invalidating or demonizing others.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:27-31

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.


Imago Dei: The Image of God

  • What do you think it means to be created in the image of God?

  • How could it change the way that you think about others to remember that they are created in the image of God?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What would it look like for you to see those with whom you agree less as an enemy, less as “other,” but more as a beloved, welcome child of God?

  • What would it take to be curious about those with whom you differ rather than to dismiss them?

  • What would it take to avoid making generalizations about whole groups of people, especially people with whom you have little direct contact, people who are already hard to recognize as unique individuals in their own right instead of “one of those”?

Challenges For This Week:

1. Pay Attention. Really Listen

2. Speak Words of Love.

Adapted by St. John’s UMC from resources created by Rev. Roger R. Sonnenberg

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