Desmond Tutu’s beloved children’s book God’s Dream describes a young boy who cries when he realizes that his selfish actions have caused a rift in a friendship with a classmate. Tutu writes that God cries, too, when we hurt others and are ourselves hurt. I’m taken by this sentiment of God crying with us; and the message that God is not too holy to feel. God is not above emotion, but God is below. We find God alongside us in the depths of our suffering; God cries, too.
In my children’s sermon about mental health, I show the children a small, unopened package of tissues. I ask a volunteer to open the package and share with us what they discover inside. Carefully a tissue emerges from its package. Then I ask for a tissue from the child. I share that I need it to wipe my eyes because I had been a little teary that morning.
We talk about how when we have big feelings that don’t have words, they come out as tears. I share Tutu’s book, showing them the page where the boy is crying. I read to them about how when we are crying, God cries, too.
We talk about how tissues are also used when we are sick and have a runny nose, a bad cold or a sinus infection. Sometimes when we are very sick, we go to the doctor and get medicine.
Our brains, just like our hearts and our lungs, need to be healthy. But sometimes when we are not feeling good, we go see a doctor. I share that my brother went to the doctor because his brain was not feeling good. The doctor gave him medicine to help him feel better.
Now my brother is home from the hospital and his brain is doing better. Mental health means taking care of our whole body; including our brain. When our brain is healthy, we feel better.
Sometimes we cry when we are feeling sad. And when we cry, God is with us. When we are sick and not feeling good, God is with us. We are never alone because God is always with us. God loves us even when we cry and when we feel sick, even when we are happy and feel healthy.
Let us pray: Thank you God for tears that express how we are feeling. Thank you God for our brains that help us know your love. Thank you God for mental health and for people who help us feel better when we are sick. We love you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.