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Helping And Healing Moments Of The Eucharist: Awareness Of Those Gathered At The Table

2543 words - 10 pages

Part One: Narrative
In the beginning of 2014 I was faced with news that would taint the way I remember the rest of the year. A young man who had been a part of my congregation took his life. I was appalled as I have known this young man since he was a teenager. He was raised by his grandparents. His mother had been in and out of institutions for various mental and drug related difficulties in life. His father had taken his own life early in the life of this young man. He came to our church as he was invited by his neighbors who had children about the same age as he was. Church seemed to play a steady role in his life and we held many discussions about his past, my past, what life is like for the Black male in the United States. He even served on many mission’s trips yearning to travel and see the world while working in ways that would seemingly benefit him as a believer. One thing was evident, he was not seeking professional help for the depression which he battled. In our church tradition, until recently, mental health was something not often discussed. No one really had the training to deal with depression and most advice for those who suffered with depression was to “give it over to God.” There was little if any help offered to this young man to find psychological and medical help which would have greatly benefitted him. His life hid his struggle as he was driven to succeed. He had recently graduated from college after initially going to college just to play basketball. He had been introduced to a young lady with whom he had fallen in love. They had twin daughters together. As time progressed this couple learned that life together was not as easy as they thought it might be. The young man attempted to be the sole provider for his new family. For all the presumed joy this relationship brought him, the pain was evident. The fighting between the parents spilled into social media outlets. The young man could not seem to find a job that would keep him, and the stress of being overlooked for any promotions caused him to lash out at the jobs that seemed to need him. He finally found a job that seemed to fit and after a year of employment, he was laid off. At this young man's funeral a theologically trained, New York Times best selling author spoke with me. "I just don't know for a Christian how I feel about suicide. When I was younger I dealt more harshly with it, but now I am considerably more gracious yet I still have no answers." I was at a loss for words myself. All I could say is, "I don't know if there are any answers, but this one hurts. It hurts our congregation, it hurts the body of Christ." Even after an agreeing response to my statement, I was left thinking that I should have said something else. As I left the funeral home, I wondered if I had fully dealt with death in this form. I know that I had been offered many sermons about suicide that compared it to murder. I had even heard a pastor pronounce that...

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