“REFLECTIONS ON DEPRESSION:
BE COMFORTED, BE OF GOOD COURAGE”
By Rev. Sherrie Connelly
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Expressing the hard realities of depression,
in a Christian Swedenborgian context,
with an uplifting message of hope.
Are you willing to slog through the mud?
To move when you don’t feel like moving?
To go forward when you’d rather sink low?
To try new things and venture where you’ve never
Yet paradoxically –
Are you willing to give up the struggle?
To let things be just as they really are?
To give up stories, excuses, and offering a “looks a
Can you stop the “everything’s fine” charade,
admit defeat in what you’ve been doing, and
ask the Lord, a professional, or a trusted friend for
Insanity is doing the same things we’ve always done,
And expecting a different result.
And maybe it’s time to admit that we are all a little bit
I for one and all of us are in need of Moses’ bronze
serpent, Jesus’ love, and the grace of God that
Is this radical journey out of depression as difficult
as embracing things that make us squirm and are
sticky and disgustingly unembraceable?
Sometimes that’s true, especially if childhood abuse,
family violence, boundary violations, illegalities,
secrets, betrayals, silly little games, and any kind of
battle traumas are involved.
Yet sometimes it is as easy as hearing with new
seeing with new eyes?
With the help of other ears and eyes, and
with our Good Lord’s tough cattle prod or some
gentle teddy bear benevolence.
What are you willing to do to have a better life than
the life you have now?
What might you give up in order to restore some
sense of personal hope?
Is it possible that a shift in attitude or belief will lead
to a more positive future for our families?
That a rewired mind and heart will make all the
difference to the future of our humble little and
Just where do we go from here, when we’re tired,
want to be a shlub on the couch, and wish
somebody else, anybody else but you and me,
would do the complex and mysterious work of
How can we possibly expect a radical personal and
community resurrection, if we are unwilling to die to
business as usual, and may we don’t even know that
we need to?
PAUSE – BREATHE –
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE TO REFLECT
Today’s Sacred Readings — Summary Ideas
Numbers 21 Moses’ Bronze Serpent protects and saves people from evil.
Psalm 107 People cry to the Lord in their trouble and he saves them.
Ephesians 2 Even as we are dead by our transgressions, we are saved by grace.
John 3 As Moses lifts up a Bronze Serpent, so the Son of Man is lifted, And we are saved – healed and made whole — in Christ for eternal life.
Doctrine of Life 24 Doing good from God saves us; doing good from self does not.
DEPRESSION SOURCES & EVIDENCE
20 million people in the United States are depressed each
8% EPISODE OF MAJOR DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS @ YEAR
Per the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF DEPRESSION,
DIFFERENT AMOUNTS AND DEGREES,
PERIODIC AND CHRONIC
….”A life of its own?”
“Depression strikes about 17 million American adults each year–
more than cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease–according to
the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). An estimated 15
percent of chronic depression cases end in suicide. Women are twice
as likely as men to be affected.”
As in Last Sunday’s message on
STRESS: CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
A shift in how we see things, and how we interpret things, the
stories we tell about our experiences, can be especially helpful.
Experience in Tucson AZ at Preaching Seminar…..
When I told the gathered people that I had flu all week and was
planning a sermon on depression, they genuinely laughed.
But DP is working perfectly.
Gift of experience and a Story.
STORY #1 – Christine Morey’s Meditation on
[read from separate page]
PAUSE – BREATHE – TAKE A MOMENT OF
STORY #2 — Personal Reflections- Two little Stories
Whatever else is written and said about depression, I have learned that it can be a
buffer against feelings, and perhaps realities,
people are not ready to deal with.
80’s and 90’s – Tx Dysthymia after
seven deaths in seven years, patterns of
loss. Earlier childhood effects.
Strong responses are usual a sign of “earlier similar.”
Life events can alter physiological
Episodic vs. chronic, mild or major?
WHAT TO DO?
Understand and experiment? Ask others.
Different approaches for different folks – whatever
Whole person approach — mental, emotional,
Small steps or big ones? Fix the situation or a new
1988 crisis — getting into Adult Children
Toughing it out vs. surrender; paradox of power and
personal agency with God’s help.
Thought loops, negative thinking, and moods;
flushing out feelings, without dwelling there.
Dr. David Berenson, MD – E-motions & Moods.
Don’t just sit there, do anything.
Don’t just do something, sit there.
Journaling and poetry of healing, music, movement
Importance of COMFORT
Empathy & support BE COMFORTED
Helping others as both escape and remedy,
When we need comfort just as much or more.
Importance of COURAGE
Take just one step, a little step or a big one
BE OF GOOD COURAGE.
What’s so? So what? Now what?
The roots of our futures have been growing
underground, perhaps unseen and unfelt.
Still the seeds of new life are already planted and
have been growing in the darkness of rich soil, and
the sunshine of spring is just beginning to shine.
If we have faith in the divine patterns of life itself;
Our faith in God’s love will give us hope.
I saw a miraculous sign of this just yesterday!!
Enormous White blooming tree in full bloom on my
Our faith and our Holy Lord assure us,
There is Hope for living together in a new garden,
And the Word promises us a good and loving
Future as we work together in joy
creating the heaven on earth
we have been promised.
Let us rejoice!
[looking up and moving hands together]
Holy one, we are grateful.
Amen and Alleluia.