New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 9

 happened a long time ago in a distant place, but an eternal reality that we are participating in. Each resurrection of spiritual life we experience is really the Lord’s resurrection in us. For as He said: “I am the resurrection and the life.” “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 11:25; 14:19) The roots of Easter are in heaven – and heaven is “within you.” (Luke 17:21) (WEO) the cry of suicide Suicide is always tragic, on so many levels, and no one is immune. The General Church has been devastated with several people taking their lives in recent years, leaving family and friends, communities and congregations reeling with searing pain, crushing grief and haunting questions. No matter how much time passes, the pain, the grief and the questions don’t go away. They are forever acute and insistent. There is something in suicide that calls out to us in anguish. We wish we could have done something to prevent it. We want to respond to the cry so that we might be able to help prevent another. We need to learn all that we can – from the clergy and doctrinal insights, from mental health professionals, and from each other. We recommend that anyone eager to heed the call read – or re-read – the article, “Reflections on Suicide” by the Rev. John L. Odhner in the July/August 2015 issue of New Church Life. This is a comprehensive and compassionate study, brimming with the Lord’s mercy and the comfort of His teachings. “Suicide,” he says, “can leave us feeling that life is extremely confusing, complex and painful. It will often seem to make absolutely no sense at all. The teachings [in the Writings] will not take away all the pain, but they may bring a little clarity and comfort to people who have been faced with suicide.” Mr. Odhner says clearly that “the act of suicide is always wrong and painful,” but cautions that we should never judge those who have taken their own lives. We just cannot know what pushes someone over the edge. But he offers a calming perspective from the Writings, under such headings as: • What should we think about suicide? • Suicide does not end our problem • Are people punished after death for suicide? • Suicide permitted to protect a person’s soul (You can find Mr. Odhner’s article online at www.newchurchlife.org; click on “Read Recent Issues,” and look for July/August 2015. There have been many others articles and commentaries on suicide in the pages of New Church Life over the years, which may be searched through www.heavenlydoctrines.org. 75