17th August 2014 – 10th Sunday After Pentecost A

Like most of the world, I didn’t know Robin Williams, personally, but never the less I was deeply touched by his humour, his insights and his honesty in grappling with his demons. Apparently, in life, he was plagued by fears and anxieties. This despite the fact that he was a Christian! I know that rocky journey all too well. Sadly, no amount of love can heal us of such anxiety… In fact some will feel so unworthy of the love offered that they become even more anxious. For Robin Williams it seems that finally his fear of continuing to live and breathe outweighed all other fears, including fear of death. – that great unknown. I pray that he may finally Rest in Peace.

Please note that I have stated that Robin Williams suffered fear, anxiety and depression, despite his Christian faith. Cruel writers on social media have attacked him as a coward and worse. Please note – sadly, faith is not a guarantee of freedom from such feelings – or the sense that, somehow, one is drowning in darkness. The propensity for depression is many factored. Genetics and biological chemistry play a part, along with life events and personality. Faith may help someone to hold on and find hope but you cannot talk yourself, or someone else, out of depression! Telling someone to “get over it” only makes the situation worse and lessens an already low self-esteem!

It has been considered, by some, that suicide is the ultimate, unforgiveable sin. In the past the church would not allow for the funeral or burial of a suicide victim on consecrated ground. The belief was that the person was consigned to eternal hell. I am not of this belief and the church, for the most part, has moved from this stance. My understanding is that the act of suicide (in most cases – I can’t speak of suicide bombers) is the result of an overwhelming longing to escape the pain and darkness of life and, sometimes, the mistaken desire to set loved ones free from constant vigilance and concern. The victim of suicide has already been through hell! I believe that the God of love looks upon each one with compassion, weeps for their pain and loves them!

If you suffer from such feelings of depression, please seek help. Your G.P. is a good starting point… The web site – http://www.beyondblue.org.au is also a good place to visit. You aren’t alone.

Much love and many blessings

Reverend Shan