Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”
John 11:25-26 NLT
In the fifteenth century, a medieval manuscript appeared called Ars Moriendi or the “art of dying”. These manuals informed the dying about what to expect, and prescribed prayers, actions and attitudes that would lead to a “good death” and salvation. The Church wanted to instruct priests and laity in the way of dying well.
I cannot remember ever hearing a sermon about how to prepare for death. Yet this is an event common to all. Instead we have a culture of fighting death. So we sign up for endless cycles of treatment in the hope that our lives may be prolonged.
It is always going to be more difficult for those who survive the deceased. Who wants to lose a relative or friend from their life? Yet, we need to encourage each other to take greater responsibility for ourselves in determining the nature of our journey to the grave. Jayne knows I’ve settled not to resist death’s call when it comes. I want to journey with my family, in the comfort of my own home. I would like all of us supported by a hospice team. People to answer our questions and help me manage my pain. I’ve read extensively about the death process as recorded by health professionals. I am as ready as I feel I need to be. Of course, only the reality will test that.
In Christ we have a great hope. Who we leave behind will carry a sadness. Yet, at the same time it affords great comfort if we recognise our death is not an end but a transition point. If we cannot find faith for that, we must admit to having serious questions over the authenticity of Jesus’ message. Even though I was sad when Katey died, my tears were mingled with a joy that she had migrated to God’s presence and her struggles ended and her forever life with Christ begun.
Are you wired to fight death?
I entrust all of my tomorrows to you, God, and choose to live my life with you today.
Photo – Harry Clark windows in Cong church