In Life, in death in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
A New Creed, United Church of Canada
A public meeting was held last Thursday evening in Windsor (the last of 11 such meetings) which was led by the Ipsos research firm. This meeting was to take the pulse of those who had gathered and who wanted their voices heard. Even from the early moments there was some tension when key pad clickers were sought and one’s say was threatened. Yet as discussions continued the crowd started listening to each other. Physician assisted dying is not an easy topic to discuss. The ethics around helping another leave this existence is still unclear in many people’s minds. The key point of discussion then became how one makes a competent decision and who determines this acceptable level of competency.
Physician assisted dying and palliative care focus on the manner in which a person dies and prayerfully dies with dignity under their terms. Concerns raised as to why doctors would be willing to assist those who want to die when this goes against the physicians’ purpose of care. Palliative care is caring to keep people comfortable, pain free and in a state where communication is possible. But do we really seek palliative care appropriately?
When Jesus was dying on the cross he wanted to make sure that Mary his mother would be cared for. He was in severe pain, was thirsty and was given wine vinegar. And then he gave up his spirit and died. Jesus’ death was horrible- crucifixion was considered one of the most inhumane ways to die; a slow asphyxiation. And this was the point- he died in agony so that we could live in peace. But the concern that this issue raises, should how we die be on our terms or God’s under all circumstances?
This is when this legislation raises the need for spiritual and cultural considerations. The stigma of choosing death over life by one’s hand in any form is still regarded unfavourably by many cultures. We are all going to die; this is a reality but should it be at our choosing with assistance.
As we continue to explore this legislation we each need to consider what might be called my dying plan. This would then be shared with family. But are we willing to do this?
One day you will die. Ideally what would you consider your plan to include. Ideally what is your life’s plan—to live or to die, or to live like you were dying? This legislation offers us many ways to discuss a very serious topic- filled with emotion and tears. This too is reason enough to reflect, pray and know that God leads you if you truly believe.
God you know everything about us- our life before we came into this world and all that we say and do. You have given us the ability to think, feel and to understand your love for us through Jesus. As we reflect on these questions of life, we pray that your Spirit will lead us to a clearer knowledge of life and death and you. For you have promised us an eternal resting place in heaven. Teach us and show us how we might get there as we live and lvoe other here on earth. Enable us to understand. Amen. .