The Boston marathon terror act is far too fresh in my mind. It is devastating, death-giving and just plain depressing. Depression is something all of us have shared at one time or another. Depression may be situational or other, but it honestly asks and demands to be taken care of no matter how debilitating it is to us personally, our family and those around us.
Depression is nothing new to scripture, yet you might think it never occurs according to some preachers. And if it does happen, it is because you aren’t “right with the Lord.” Job suffered the fools in first three friends, then a fourth, who all knew the cause of his depression, or so they thought. They took what I call “the surface thinking” way out. They just told Job he was wicked, a liar and not worthy of God’s care. It gets so bad that Job’s wife yells out, “Curse God and die.” WhatSt. Augustinetook as a further condemnation of all women (I have NO defense of him) was actually a cry of anguish and pity. She couldn’t stand to watch Job suffer.
An occasional bad day is one thing, but as Linus Mundy writes, “When we’re down and out, our fellow human beings are there to help us, more than we ever know. Beyond that, our faith tells us squarely that we can ask for-and expect- divine help too.”
I have a great deal of admiration for those who know when to seek physical and soul help. As I told the children in a sermon on April 14th, the three best words you may ever speak are, “Please help me.” (See Psalm 30) I long for the day when we can discuss our deeper hurts openly without fear of someone retaliating later on when we are most vulnerable.
Here are some thoughts from “Elf-Help for Overcoming Depression.”
1. Feeling down is a natural reaction to life’s hurts, stresses, changes and disappointments. The road to taking action and feeling well again begins with self-awareness: understanding depression and realizing just where you are.
2. Information is your best weapon against depression. Learn all you can about its causes, types and treatment.
3. We come to know ourselves well only after we’ve brushed up against a lot of adversity. Rather than being threatened by depression, see it as a springboard to personal growth and self-understanding.
4. Depression is an illness of the body, mind and spirit. To treat it, you must pay attention to all of you. Where are you hurting? Ask yourself how you can bring healing to that part of your life.
5. Because depression frequently has physical causes and effects, to really “cheer up” or “snap out of it” often requires medical assistance. Turn to the experts who can help you treat it and defeat it.
I so greatly admire people who have learned to ask for what I call “inner help.” Sometimes I think our society has come a long way from 1972 when Thomas Eagleton had to step down from the McGovern presidential ticket since he had received mental health therapy. Other times I still see the shame some have, and the shame that is laid on those who are courageous enough to seek help.
I see therapy as being part of God’s indelible light. The beginning of the gospel of John says that the light came into the world and darkness could not put it out. Not our darkness, or the shadows others cast on us. ”This little light of mine” still shines, no matter how dim, and through help can once again glow and warm others.
Peace and hope,
Sunday, March 24 10:00 am Palm Sunday Service
Sharing of the Palm Branches
Thursday, March 28 7:00 pm Maundy Thursday Service
Communion and Chancel Choir cantata: “Song of the Shadows”
Friday, March 29 7:00 pm Good Friday Service
at First Congregational Church of DeKalb (615 N. First St.)
Sunday, March 31 10:00 am Easter Resurrection Worship
Easter Egg Hunt for the children after worship
Join us on Maundy Thursday evening as we prepare ourselves for the events leading up to the crucifixion. The 7:00 pm Service will be a tenebrae service (service of candles) and will include communion by intinction. The Chancel Choir will present “Song of the Shadows,” a cantata by Joseph M. Martin which carries us from the Palm Sunday glory through to the crucifixion.
This is a very moving work, presented in an ever darker sanctuary – as the candles are extinguished one by one during the performance. You will feel the angst that Jesus and his followers felt as they tried to take in the meaning of these events.
Join us after Easter Service, Sunday, March 31st, for Federated’s 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt. All ages are welcome to join in the fun after church on our front lawn or playground for our youngest members. Remember how excited our children were last year and the joy as adults we had watching them hunt for eggs? Let’s do it again.
The Revelation Fully Revealed
Twenty centuries ago a faithful Christian believer who wanted to give warning, encouragement, and hope to Christians who were suffering or were about to suffer persecution under the Roman Empire wrote a letter, an epistle to seven churches. This letter expressed judgment and despair, victory and hope. It was an affirmation of faith in God’s power and love. Undoubtedly, the seven churches that received this letter understood the message it contained and were strengthened by it. Since then, however, this letter has been much misunderstood and distorted by both opportunists and well meaning people.
People come to the study of Revelation with a wide variety of feelings and preconceived notions. We will be taking a deep look at the contents of this book, which was the most disputed book to make it into the canon of the New Testament. We’ll look at the history, customs, and symbols of the day when it was written on the rocky island of Patmos.
I am inviting you to all or some of these sessions. Bring your questions and impressions of the book that Martin Luther felt did not belong in any scripture. (He also felt that the book of James should be “ripped” out of the canon.) Here is the syllabus for our course. Please bring your favorite Bible. We will meet in the Youth Room every Tuesday beginning February 12, from 7 to 8:30 PM.
NOTE: The schedule has changed some from what is printed below. You are still invited; please call the church for specific details.
February 12: The One in the Midst of the Lampstands…read Revelation chapter 1
February 19: Christ’s messages to the Seven Churches…read chapters 2 & 3
February 26: The Throne, the Sealed Book, the Lamb and the Seven Seals Opened…Read Revelation 4-7
March 5: The Sounding of the Seven Trumpets…read chapters 8-11
March 12: The Woman, The Red Dragon, and Two Beasts…read chapters 12-15
March 19: The Pouring of the Seven Bowls….read chapters 16-20
March 26: The New Heaven and the New Earth…read chapters 21 & 22..
Please call me with any questions. They will be most welcome.
Pastor Dennis Johnson
Our annual Thrift Sale will be held on Saturday, April 20 from 9 am to 2 pm in Dutton Hall. Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Welcome Cafe at UUFD in DeKalb and the School Supply Pantry. Items available will include clothing, household goods, linens & bedding, electronics, books, knick knacks, toys and games.
A concurrent Plant Sale will benefit the courtyard garden. In addition, there will be a silent auction of a few special items.
Set-up will be Friday evening, April 19, beginning at 6pm with pizza provided.
Everyone is encouraged to go through your closets for burried treasurers and bring your donations to the Youth Room beginning Sunday, April 14.
During worship on March 17, Pastor Dennis and the Deacons offered a healing prayer to anyone interested in coming to the chancel area to have hands laid upon them. Literally “good touch.”
Saturday, March 16, 2013 – thirty-one Federated Church members attended the Stage Coach Players performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in DeKalb Saturday evening preceded by dinner at Rosita’s. The performance was outstanding and we are proud that our own Director of Music, Gary Mattin, was the rehearsal accompanist and played keyboards for the show.