Monday, March 25, 2019

Looking Ahead to MArch 31, 2019 -- Lent 4 -- Death/End of Life

This week we continue in our series looking at Practices of the Church with a look of where faith speaks at the end of life.

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • John 11:17-26
  • John 14:1-6
  • Psalm 23
The Sermon title is At the End...

Early Thoughts:  There is an old truth.  "None of us is getting out of this alive" Or maybe "We all have a terminal condition".

In the end we all have times in life when we have to stare in to the reality of death. Eventually it will be our own but there will also be the deaths of friends and family over the years. Some of those will be tragic and sudden, some of them will be long-expected, some may even come as a release. But we all have to deal with the reality of death.

I suggest we do our children a favour when we tell them this and let them do it as they age rather than try to shield the from the fact until they are "old-enough to understand".

AS people of faith we believe that dealing with the reality of death is a faith matter.  Questions of life and death and meaning are, in the end, spiritual questions. When we ask "WHY" in the face of tragedy I do not think we are asking for scientific or legal explanations (or at least not mostly, that may be part of it).

There are two main things I think Christian thought has to say in the face of death:
1) there is something more, life continues beyond what we call death
2) we are not alone in the face of death, as we die or as we grieve we are not alone

Many times we think of death as the enemy. I am not sure that is theologically (or biologically) supportable. The natural end of life is death. As resurrection people we need not be afraid of death. [Personally I like the quote of Woody Allen's "I am not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens"] But to get to that point we need to stop and think and talk about what we believe about life and death and life beyond death.

We mark the end of life in our faith communities. We do that because life and death are not just medical issues. In the end I think we need to talk about at time other than the funeral.  We need to talk about what we believe. I think we are healthier for it, I think our children and youth will be healthier for it. I think we will be more ready to wrestle with the sometimes uncomfortable reality the "to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to be born and a time to die".

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