Scripture: Matthew 27:1-10
Key verse: (5) Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
Reflection: Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. When a celebrity commits suicide, there is more public conversation about it. Apparently suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. You can learn more about it here https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/health/suicide-rates-kate-spade.html
One of the amazing things about the Bible is that it doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like suicide. I am grateful that our holy scripture is down-to-earth enough to speak the truth and not just a sugarcoated utopian version of human life. In today’s passage, Judas sees that Jesus has been arrested and Jesus’ enemies hope to bring about his death. Judas repents of betraying Jesus and he tries to return the money he received as payment for turning Jesus in to the religious authorities. The authorities refuse to accept the money and Judas throws it down and then hangs himself. Judas became overwhelmed with guilt and saw no way out. He felt hopeless.
So what does our faith say about suicide? Some claim it is an unforgivable sin but we do not believe that to be true. A person in pain isn’t condemned for wanting the pain to end. Suicide is tragic and leaves behind hurting people who will live with more questions than answers. People who feel hopeless or who want their pain to end need the faith community to be a place of safe welcome. The church can be that place if we are willing to acknowledge difficult topics and we are willing to listen to deep pain. God is with us and God offers hope through the love and care we are able to give to one another.
Prayer: O God, when I feel hopeless and don’t see a way out, please give me courage to ask for help. Give me strength to love hurting people and to face the truth of pain in our world. Walk with me and walk with all those who journey through the valley of the shadow of death. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].