A prophet and a poet deliver an Easter message for 2018.

 

This message is for you if you have ever felt

depressed

ecstatic

or any emotion in between.

 

Story of Jonah

Traditionally, the story of Jonah begins with the prophet trying to escape his divine mission to warn the people of Ninevah of impending destruction. Perversely, Jonah boards a ship going in the opposite direction. Sailors on board try to avert the disaster, which Jonah’s disobedience has apparently brought on: they toss him into the sea. Miraculously, God saves Jonah by having him swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he spends three days and three nights, which some say is a metaphor for Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

 

Jonah and the Whale, Pieter Lastman
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

Even though a merciful God spared Ninevah from catastrophe, Jonah became angry because the Ninevites did not receive the judgment he thought they deserved.

Then, “The LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” Jonah 4:6, KJV

When the gourd died, Jonah becomes depressed, noted in the Old Testament book of Jonah.

 

Carl Sandburg Speaks

American poet Carl Sandburg, in Smoke and Steel may be alluding to the feeling of depression here:

 

My Story

I often felt blue when my children were younger and my husband and I were beginning our careers. Hormones could have also played a role in my emotional roller-coaster rides. I thought then that a kick to our household finances and help from a maid service would fix my mood. Fortunately, I have never had to be hospitalized for the “down” feeling, but I sympathize with those who do. There is no shame in admitting the problem or seeking help.

Nowadays when I fall into a negative mood, I galvanize myself into action and go into a housecleaning or cooking spree – or take a long walk. Doing for others is also a good tonic. However, sometimes it is healthy to “ride” the mood and let myself feel sad for a while and not anesthetize myself with drugs. Some researchers have speculated that one reason for the current opioid epidemic is that those addicted do not wish to feel pain of any kind, either physical or psychic.

Depression is a temporal condition, but belief in the resurrection can provide eternal hope.

 

Both Easter and the Passover deliver messages of hope and deliverance, here symbolized by lilies on the cover of a vintage Ideals magazine from 1955, Ruth M. Longenecker archives.

Happy Easter . . . Passover Peace!

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.     ~ Psalm 42:5

 

Resurrection Fern, Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
March 2018

 


 

  • Can you relate in any way to Jonah? To Carl Sandburg?
  • What tips do can you share to get out of the clutches of sadness or feelings of depression?
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