Friday, April 15, 2005

Psalm 23

There's been a suicide in the community. It's time to teach and talk about the misery of despair.

When the preachers met for coffee on Wednesday, three of us began talking about the lectionary for Sunday. It seems to us that Psalm 23 is a good place to begin a discussion about depression, hopelessness and being bone-crushingly lonely. Walter Bruggeman, retired professor of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, has a sermon on Psalm 23 in his The Threat of Life. I'll read it after I finish my sermon so that I don't let it influence me. It's too early in the process for me to see someone else's sermon. The other preachers think it has great power for seeing the Psalm and I'm sure they are correct.

I'll be focusing on the "he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Misery and depression sure feel like enemies to me.

O Lord of Life, be with the family of ......... Let them know your presence through the words and actions of their friends and family. Let them be comforted by those who love them.
Teach each of us to live so closely to you that we cannot think of our lives apart from Your life. Keep us in your loving care so that we may hold on to this life until it's end. Comfort those who struggle with hopelessnes and despair. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.


(I had to call the computer tech again. I'm back online again for awhile, I hope.)

7 comments:

Songbird said...

We've had a sad loss this week, too, and it makes Psalm 23 all the more poignant. I'm going to read it with/to the children on Sunday, probably from The Message, in an effort to shake up how we hear it.

the reverend mommy said...

I've had a week much like ya'll's week -- I saw an accident on Tuesday with 2 fatalities, one on Wednesday with 4 fatalities (all teenagers) and the grandsons of a dear friend were in a near fatal accident on Thursday -- one is in ICU in critical condition. Psalm 23 soothes like oil itself.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the suicide. Did you read Peter Kramer's very good article in the Times mag about depression?

nightwoodkitty said...

I'm sorry to hear about the suicide. Did you read Peter Kramer's very good article in the Times mag about depression?

PPB said...

I'm sorry to hear this. having lived in small places, I know how quickly those ripples reach outward.
Hoping your computer troubles were minor.

Marie said...

Sorry too about the suicide. Hope you and the community will be okay. There's something about that that profoundly changes everyone. Prayers.

Mary said...

Hello, St. C. I've not been here in a week so I'm catching up reading you. Wonderful, as always.

But I got goosebumps reading this particular post.

Just today I was telling one friend how the simple fact that I knew and had grown close to another friend had helped to save my own life at one point.

"Let them know your presence through the words and actions of their friends and family. Let them be comforted by those who love them."

If there was ever an example of knowing and really FEELING God's grace through the instrumental words of a friend (unbeknownst to said friend at the time) I am it. I heard words of comfort that were, fortunately, not after the fact, but before any fact could happen. I know there are others like me who have similar stories. But I never cease to be amazed by how God reminds us we are all connected and all His, and how we can learn from each other that we don't have to feel bone-crushingly lonely . Angels are everywhere. I'm so grateful.

I'm sorry to hear about the suicide in your community, but I thank you for talking about despair.