New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 53

       us. And their love is something they receive from the Lord. The point is there is this duality that exists and we are sandwiched between the forces of good and the forces for evil, and their influences affect all of us. We are vessels that receive life. And life is flowing into us all the time. We are supposed to be in a state of equilibrium. We are supposed to be able to freely recognize those things and freely choose what influences we will listen to – to accept the true and good things and to reject the selfish and hellish things. But that’s not always the case. Earlier this week we received news from my hometown of a beloved teacher, coach, mentor, mother and wife who took her own life. The community was shocked and rocked by that. She seemed so together, so happy and so inspiring to so many people. She was such an influence for good. And you ask yourself the question: “How could that possibly happen?” The answer: She was a victim of mental illness and a terrible assault from the hells. That act is not who she was. I was in disbelief myself and saddened and left with the realization that we need to turn up the light. To turn it up very brightly. To turn it up so brightly that hell has nowhere to hide. So I am talking about this today. If this makes you uncomfortable, I am sorry about that but we need to bring it into the light and to talk about mental health and mental illness. I hope you will take time to share your thoughts at the end of the service too. You have probably seen this said somewhere or heard it perhaps: “Everyone is fighting a battle that you are not aware of.” Have you heard that? Everyone is fighting a battle that we just don’t know about. Some of them are what the Writings call trials. We experience these trials for the things that have to do with this natural world, like maybe trying to diet or the struggle that we experience when we are trying not to eat ice cream. That kind of trial. It’s a pain but it’s not that bad, if you think about it. Sure it’s a struggle, like wanting to lose weight. It’s a struggle like when we need to work out but we don’t really want to. It’s that trial that we experience – that struggle. And then there are spiritual temptations that the Writings talk about where we’re actually trying to change our character and are trying to grow spiritually. We are trying to leave behind a bad habit. They concern things that we want I was in disbelief myself and saddened and left with the realization that we need to turn up the light. To turn it up very brightly. To turn it up so brightly that hell has nowhere to hide. 119