Throwing Stones & Good Theology

Today I went to visit a family this afternoon with Robin who’s 22 year old son took his life 3 1/2 weeks ago!!!

Griff Parrish was a talented young man with many gifts including that as a singer/songwriter. he has even released an album

we both attended the memorial service just 2 days after this tragic loss and were very moved by all the people present including young adults

Robin as part of her ministry at Friendship Presbyterian includes a Prayer Shawl Ministry where she and the women of the church knit/crochet prayer shawls then deliver them and pray with the individual. naturally I gave never been to one of these occasions. They are usually delivered to folks who are in need, sick, or have lost a loved one

Several weeks ago Robin suggested that we take one of these shawls to Emily Parrish, Griff’s mother. we were in LaGrange and coordinated a way to stop by.

WOW… it was a very moving experience to sit with Emily and listen. She poured her heart out and did not hold back one little bit. I felt very moved to be able to sit and hear many of the stories, the pain,the what if’s everything. Needless to say Emily was very touched by the prayer shawl and all 3 of us cried our eyes out as we layed it around Emily’s shoulders and as Robin prayed the prepared prayer. Even now as i sit and type this blog i think of Emily sitting there admiring this beautiful shawl.

Not to be in a hurry to move on. however our original reason for being in La Grange today was to visit the Antiquity Center. this place is amazing and seeks to re create the phyiscal setting of Jesus’ time period and more

The Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia, is a living museum of life in ancient times. Through archeological replicas, Biblical meal presentations, lectures, and other personal experiences, ancient Middle Eastern life becomes real today.

We went with program staff from Calvin Center and ended with a Seder Supper meant to recreate The Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples. It was very moving and we were treated to a traditional meal for the time period. But what struck me most was how the guide put the actual meal into a historical context. Everything from the food to the order in which they were seated.

We also learned about the traditions, and the way people (when the ate) reclined around a meal and the order they sat in meant order of importance. The person next to the host that was Judas, directly next to Jesus. The most important seat next to JC’s of course. Yes Judas, that Judas who goes on to betray JC. The person next to the host or Jesus gets served 1st after the host. That would be Judas, yes that Judas. The person who gets the best choice of food, would be directly next to JC, that would be Judas, yes that Judas. The person who gets the best piece of lamb (the food choice of the time period) would directly next to JC, that would be Judas, yes that Judas. And JC even leans over and feeds some of it to him.

This is hard to put into words, and i find it hard to contain my excitment.

JC then turns to Judas and tells him to go and do what he was supposed to do and do it quickly. Knowing full well that he was speaking to Judas about betraying him. The story continues and Judas is full of sadness, and knows he has made a mistake. Tries to give the money back-they refuse to take it, as its ‘blood money”. So Judas throws it in the temple and goes and hangs himself in a field.

Why do i tell you this.

  • Judas was mentally ill and wasnt thinking straight when he made the decision to betray JC.
  • Judas had remorse, he knew he had done wrong and tries to fix it, cannot and see suicide as his only option. Remember he is mentally ill and therefore isnt able to make rational decisions.
  • JC knew what Judas was up to, and in feeding Judas was already telling him that he is forgiven. “Take eat this is my body, given for you, do this in rememberence of me… this is a new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins…”.
  • That’s some good theology. BUT ITS MORE THAN THAT!!!
  • It’s hope for all those who need it, whatever their situation.
  • Even for those who a mentally ill.
  • That’s some good reformed theology… it tells us that Jesus Christ, has already paid the price. In feeding Judas, all of them on that night he took care of it FIRST.
  • Jesus already knew, he already in effect said… its ok, i know, your sins are forgiven.
  • For ALL of us struggling with what ever, even mental health. Jesus knows an has already forgiven us.

Even when it drives us to do the unthinkable… take our own life. If nothing else but that message of forgiveness remains that gives us HOPE.

So all those who judge, condemn, ‘throw stones’ from the sidelines about choices people make, even life ending choices for the mentally ill. Put down your stones, because we are no better.

Have you ever sat with a mother who grieves her son’s decision…

I have and you would not be able to sit there and still ‘throw stones’

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