The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let them come; and whoever wishes, let them take the free gift of the water of life.
~ Revelation 22: 17
Last evening I attended a gathering called the "Death Cafe." It is a movement that isn't new, it just seems to have a more welcoming name. It is when a group of people get together with a cake, some coffee in a comfortable setting like a coffee shop, and talk about death and dying.
As we began the evening by getting to know someone and then introducing them to the group, one question that people wanted to know the answer to was, "Why are you here?"
A few of us were chaplains who work with those who are dying, or as one clearly defined, "I don't work with the dying. I work with the living."
One man, however, was a historian. He said that he studies history, and that how our life ends at death is, "Like a book that you hope ends well."
I think that his words resonated the most with me. What defines our death, is as much what describes how we lived our life. While our death is not something we know the hour or the time of, it is something, however, that we know to expect.
I'd like to think that God is the God of the living.
Among the many attributes of God, we know that God is goodness. God is the creator of all things. God is truth. God is love. God is life!
I remember years ago after being at the bedside of an eight year old girl who died from cancer. As we were leaving the room, a family member looked at me and said, "Well, this was just part of God's plan."
It was hard for me to hear these words, especially as the person stood next to the mother who just lost her only child to death.
I couldn't help but share, "No, God is a God about life, who loves us through that last breath until our first breath in eternity."
I have never been a believer that God plans for permanent death. Why else would God have sent Jesus so that all may have eternal life?
Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.
One very important question of the evening was, "Why do you suppose we don't talk about death?"
It was easy for me to share that the church has difficultly allowing for the discussion of death. I shared, "We talk of death once a year. On Good Friday, and even then we can't wait until Easter morning to get Jesus out of the grave. Or Lazarus. Or Jarius' daughter. We want them to be alive!"
The other reason that stood out on why we don't talk about death, was because we fear death.
Just as we know that there is birth, so it is that we understand that there will always be death. It is not something to fear. There is no cruel God awaiting our death - there is, however, a loving, always forgiving God, that is ready to welcome us into eternity.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.