Have Faith

Feb. 20, 2021

Scripture Readings

I have the privilege of having several clients who are palliative on my caseload right now. In January, it is very typical for people to pass away after obtaining their goal of making it to Christmas.

I compassionately listen and observe the many ways people react and respond as they approach their death: some with peace, some in full denial, some unaware due to cognitive impairment and some accessing the Medical Assistance In Dying program.

When we near the end of our lives here on earth, how can we “go in peace and be freed from our suffering?” Our selected passages today give us some guideposts and reassurances as we walk in the valley of death.

Jesus reacts to Jairus daughter’s death with “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” The great miracle of raising this little girl from death is attributed to faith. This is contrasted by the reaction of his home town community where he could not do any miracles due to their pride and unbelief. Mark notes that “he was amazed at their lack of faith."

There is no guarantee that even people with the strongest of faith will not have some emotional, mental or physical suffering on their journey towards death. Over the years, I have used the image of God’s hand on people’s faces, wiping away their tears, as a way of finding some solace for the suffering that they have had to endure. (Rev 21: 4).  The promise that God is always by our side, the God of the Angel Armies, as Eugene Peterson translates it, is such a comforting promise as well.

I will always remember a lady who was in ICU who had stopped breathing and the heart monitor showed a flat line. All of a sudden her arms came up and every so gracefully and gently flowed out like she was about to hug someone. The dear young resident with me grabbed her arms and put them down on the bed. But for me, it was such a holy moment as she had “gone in peace and was freed from her suffering”. So don’t be afraid…just have faith and believe.

Suggested song: Chris Tomlin “Whom Shall I Fear”….” I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of Angel Armies is always by my side” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwo7KT95iDg

Shelly Murdoch Green

The kindest person to ever work on our Foothills Alliance pastoral team! Now she cares for seniors in our community.