Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is celebrated in western Christianity as the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus fifty days after Easter. The story is recounted in Acts 2:1-13. Put aside for a minute skepticism about the story being factual. It probably isn’t factual. It is, however, true. It is a story that explains how a group of small, marginalized, fearful followers of a wandering rabbi who were sacred to death about being associated with him for fear they too would rounded up and crucified stopped hiding in the shadows and began to actually live by the teachings that meant so much to them. It is in essence a story about how a group of people decided to live their lives on fire; to actually live as though they believed in and valued the lessons the teacher taught. It is a story of a people finding the guts, strength, and courage to risk being who they say are. Here’s the story. A mighty wind and tongues of fire come upon Jesus’ friends and followers:
Happy Easter. This is the last in my series of posts on Monica A. Coleman’s Not Alone. If you’ve been reading along through Lent with this series of posts – You made it! I made it! Death doesn’t have the final word. there’s an eternal hope in the reality that love wins, light wins. There will be ups and downs again. There will be hellish darknesses again, but today there is light or least the celebration of the reality light is possible and life returns.
Unitarian Universalists deal with this question every Easter, as do most progressive, open-minded people of faith: Is resurrection real? Do you believe in a bodily resurrection? In Unitarian Universalist circles there will always be someone who either seriously or jokingly talks about Jesus the Zombie as if reanimation of dead tissue is the only thing we need to discuss at Easter. This, as Monica A. Coleman notes, misses the point. The reality and the point she makes so well in what amounts to an Easter homily in the epilogue of this book is:
Yes, resurrection does matter— and this is why: For those of us who live regularly or periodically with the threat of death, life matters. A lot.
This is the 11th in my Lenten series of posts about Monica A. Coleman’s book on faith and depression: Not Alone. I will wrap it up tomorrow with an Easter post. I have received a lot of wonderful feedback, mostly from colleagues in the Unitarian Universalist ministry who also live with depression. Monica A. Coleman herself even posted a nice comment on the last post. That was a wonderful blessing. Thank you, Rev. Coleman for both the comment and this book, which has truly been a pastoral experience both to read and to discuss.
I am a physical person. I like touch. I like holding hands, for example. I like hugs. I think that sometimes we play down how much simple touch means to us and how important it is.
This is the 10th in my Lenten series of posts based on Monica A. Coleman’s book about people of faith and depression, Not Alone.
I frequently use a metaphor in my work with church groups that I picked up from my friend Pastor Dave Owen O’Quill that is fitting during this week of Passover to also use when we talk about how we deal with depression. Congregations are notorious for not wanting to make any real changes. They aren’t so much afraid of the changes but the losses that occur when change happens. Pastor Dave likens this to the Israelites getting out into the dessert and getting scared because things are new, scary, and uncertain and they ask Moses to lead them back to Egypt where at least they had some food. “Back to Pharaoh” says, Pastor Dave. “They always want to go back to Pharaoh. The Promised Land is too scary.”