By Bob Hiller

Remember that scene from the Luther movie that came 15 years ago where Martin Luther takes the boy who hanged himself and buries him in the church graveyard? Everyone was standing around in shock, and the gravedigger was telling him he couldn’t do it. After all, it was thought that suicide was a mortal sin. With no chance for repentance or penance, this soul was not going to be given the opportunity for purgatory, let alone rise on the last day in the protective shadow of the church. It was believed that suicide meant damnation. Yet, Luther showed compassion in the shadow of the church. He gave that boy a Christian burial. The meaning of his actions was clear: Christ’s mercy is stronger than suicide.