Revisiting a Death

April 15, 2022

He said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. —John 19:30

Stephen Jenkinson teaches in hospitals, medical schools, and palliative care settings that our culture often puts people on a “not allowed to die” list. The medical community tries to stave off death through months and years of treatment, often resulting in “more dying” rather than “more living.” He tells the story of a three-year-old girl whose parents finally asked the doctors to stop the ineffective treatments and allow her to die naturally, in her own time. It was a heart-wrenching decision, but it brought relief to all of them.

Reading or hearing the story of Jesus’ last hours will bring pain, and it will bring memories of our loved ones who have died. Today is a day to let yourself be solemn. By staying with your sadness, you are staying with Jesus and those who stayed with him on his last day: his mother, Mary Magdalene, the beloved disciple, Simon of Cyrene, and the women of Jerusalem. Give yourself time to be with them and them with you.

For reflection: When you have experienced a personal passion, who stood by you? To whom might God be calling you to stand alongside now?

To Pray: God of life and God of death, be with us in our fear and sadness.