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Friday, February 28, 2020
And through these days of penitence,
and through this Passiontide,
yes, evermore, in life and death,
O Lord, with us abide.
Abide with us, till when this life
of suffering shall be past,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.
“Lord, Who throughout These Forty Days” (vv. 3–4)
by Claudia F. I. Hernaman
Hymn 166, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
When I was a senior in college my roommate tried to commit suicide after his girlfriend broke up with him. He was a young, gifted musician, liked by many people, but he saw no reason to continue living without her in his life, so he swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and drank a bottle of schnapps. The pills probably would have killed him, but fortunately the schnapps made him throw up and that is what saved his life. He moved on from the experience as if nothing had ever happened. He had a bright career in his calling as a musician.
Suicide is a topic we rarely discuss openly, but we need to. As statistics for suicide continue to rise each year, we as a nation are dealing with a major health crisis. If we suspect someone is contemplating taking their own life, we should not be afraid of inquiring about their suicidal thoughts or ideas. We need to pay attention, look for warning signs or hints like someone saying, “There’s no way out of this.” We need to get help by calling the suicide prevention hotline at 1.800.273.8255 or even 911. We can’t always prevent a suicide, but we can all try.
I didn’t prevent my friend from trying to kill himself, but looking back, I did see warning signs. I thank God that he didn’t succeed, and I now know what to look for and what to do. We all need to do the same to help someone in need.
As the hymn says, “Yes, evermore, in life and death, O Lord, with us abide. Abide with us, till when this life of suffering shall be past, an Easter of unending joy we may attain at last.” We all endure suffering, but suicide is a permanent solution to a trouble that so often is not permanent, that can be helped, so that we live into another “Easter of unending joy.”
Loving and eternal God, stay with me every day, the good days and the bad. All things fade, but your love always surrounds me. Help me know that nothing is permanent except your love, which never, never fails. Amen.
Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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