Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord

Russell Saltzman is a Lutheran pastor who feels inadequate when attending those about to die. He says "I rely on the prayer book, old words that are not my own, wondering always if they are enough." In "Death Beds," he recounts some of his experiences, from which I select two:
  • After completing the Lord’s Prayer I leaned over, took Margaret’s hand, and spoke gently, “Remember, Jesus knows you and whatever happens, he is with you always.” A look of irritation crossed her face and she opened her eyes and snapped at me, “I already know that.” Then her expression softened a bit, and with a small smile she said, “But thank you for saying it anyway,” as she patted my hand. I should have stopped with the prayer.
  • The woman was ninety-four. Suddenly she awakened and announced, “We have to change our teaching! There’s not supposed to be any pain in Heaven!” “Grandma,” her granddaughter told her, “you’re not in Heaven yet; you’re still here with us.” “Oh,” the old woman said, “then it’s all right.” .... [more]
Death Beds | First Things