John 3: 1-17
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
May 27, 2018 – Trinity Sunday, Mental Health Sunday
Let me say right at the outset—I am no mental health expert. But just because many of us are not knowledgeable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it and learn about it, especially in church, especially when one in four families copes with some variant and degree of situational or chronic mental illness. That’s 43 million adults. That’s one in five teens. For those that identify as cisgender, that’s almost twice as many women than men. That could be as many as 10 families in this congregation, and my family is one of them. We need to talk about it especially when not talking about it increases stigma, shame, and isolation.
|Jesus and Nicodemus, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1899|
Ernest Bruder, who was an innovative psychiatric hospital chaplain and author of the seminal book Ministering to Deeply Troubled People, said it like this: “Those with mental illness are just like us, only more so.” No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. We all have the same fundamental needs, no matter who we are, but even more so for those experiencing a mental health condition. We all need supportive community and acceptance and opportunities to serve and contribute and to have the love of God made manifest through us.