With my news feeds filled with the tragic high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the isolation of depression and mental illness has gotten more air time. My friend Evan reminded me this morning of a beautiful poem (also known as a creed, a statement of belief) we sometimes read together in worship to remind us that we are not isolated but we have community with God and with each other. It begins:
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
But too often, instead of reveling in our connections, we feel alone and isolated. It doesn’t matter how many people surround us, who lives in our home, how many followers we have on Instagram – we can be connected to a thousand people and still feel soul-crushingly abandoned.
Vulnerability is one of our core values at Two Rivers Church. We say together, as a pledge of our unity, “We are vulnerable.” To be vulnerable is to share our places of brokenness, our fears and our dreams. We are vulnerable when we admit our loneliness – even to just one other person, on a post, or in a phone call to a support line. We are vulnerable when we admit that in our loneliness we are afraid of how we might harm ourselves. To be vulnerable is a scary step when we believe the lie that if those who surround us really knew who we are they would reject us.
At Two Rivers Church, however, we embrace our vulnerability as a strength and a gift. Secrets only have power when they are kept hidden away. When we are honest and open about who we are, what we fear, and how we dream, we bring light into our places of darkness. We bring the hope of connection and affirmation. And we remind ourselves and each other that through God, Jesus came to the world to give us light and life, “and the life was the light for all people.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light” (John 1;4-5).
So friends, you are not alone. If you feel the vice-grip of depression and anxiety, reach out. Reach out to me, to a friend, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Let’s check on each other – make a call, send a text, knock on a door. We are vulnerable – and embracing that vulnerability can bring us avenues of love, life and hope.
We live in God’s world. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.