Many years ago I was part of a theology reading group. We set out to read The Crucified God by German theologian Jürgen Moltmann. It was a challenging read, but has been foundational for me.
Moltmann experienced God as a prisoner-of-war. He had been a German soldier at the end of World War II. During his time in the prison camp he was confronted with the horrors and reality of the Holocaust. He wished that he had died rather than live with this guilt and shame. During this time he experienced kindness from Christians at the camp and was given a Bible. The key encounter with Christ for him came in the words Jesus spoke from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus, forsaken, suffering, crucified could understand human suffering. Jesus, raised by God to new life, could bring new life to broken human beings. There was a possibility, even a reality, that the future could be different to the past.
On Sunday we heard a story of hope in pain and the way that God can be at work in our lives to bring light into truly dark moments. In the moments when we cry out as Jesus did, wondering why we have been forsaken, we remember that Christ has already been where we are. And it is here that Christ promises to meet us and accompany us.
As a community of people who follow in Christ’s way, we are called to be midwives to the beauty that emerges out of brokenness. We are called to attend to each other with acts of kindness and love. This is not always easy. It takes us out of our comfort zone and can challenge our ideas about how the world works. We may discover that we carry stigma and prejudice within us too. One area where I know that I have learning (and un-learning) to do is in the area of mental health concerns and trauma. I have been thankful for some of the resources below that help me to understand how my language and actions can be more kind, loving and helpful to those I encounter. Perhaps they will be helpful to you too.
The Blue Knot Foundation: https://www.blueknot.org.au
“Blue Knot Foundation is the leading national organisation working to improve the lives of 1 in 4 adult Australians (5 million) who have experienced childhood trauma.”
Lived Experience Network: https://www.suicidepreventionaust.org/projects/learning-lived-experience
“The Lived Experience Network (LEN) is made up of people from across the country who have been brought together by experience and are united by hope. We believe that the wisdom gained by those with lived experience of suicide must be used to inform suicide prevention.”
Mental Health Matters toolkit for congregations: http://ume.nswact.uca.org.au/resources/mental-health-matters-a-toolkit-for-congregations/
“Mental Health Matters: A Toolkit for Congregations has been produced jointly by UnitingCare NSW.ACT and the Rural Ministry Unit to help churches engage with mental health issues in their congregations and wider communities.”
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