‘In the midst of life we are in death’, we are told in The Book of Common Prayer. It’s a familiar saying often recited at funerals and committals, seemingly ensuring that the mourners present are aware it could be their turn next …

Not exactly cheery.

We hardly need to be reminded that death is never far away though, do we? Not after this past year of watching the global COVID death toll rise day after day. Not when our screens blare out news of peaceful protesters being shot and killed by military forces in Myanmar; bloody tolls from ongoing civil wars in such places as Syria or Somalia; or a woman being murdered while walking home in London. Not when our loved ones die, whether they are frail-aged or have lives cut short by disease or accident.

As we age, we will lose more people close to us. ‘From dust we came, to dust we shall return’, the Bible tells us in Genesis 3:19.

We can slip into viewing life in that gloomy, fatalistic way, simply waiting for the Grim Reaper to catch up with us, failing to live with the freedom of the gospel and the responsibility of the Great Commission. We can even be trapped into reading Scripture through the same lens, forgetting what Easter means for death.

Of course, thanks to Jesus, death has lost its sting, as our cover reminds us (1 Corinthians 15:55). I love the victorious tone in one of my favourite poems from high school studies – John Donne’s ‘Death, be not proud’.

‘One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death thou shalt die.’

As Donne and the Gospel of John (11:25) remind us, Easter means that even though we die, we will live.

So, while death will continue to bring sadness, pain and grief on this earth, for us as Christians it also brings hope. Our death will be the start of our new life, a transition we need not fear. In Revelation 21:4 we read: ‘“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain.’

In this issue, we share insights from members of our Lutheran family who have served dying people through various ministries. I pray you will be encouraged in your faith as you read these stories, and that you will find comfort in the hope of your new life beyond death.

Your favourite columns are here, too and also with this edition is a bonus copy of Border Crossings, thanks to LCA International Mission. It’s full of wonderful stories about the way your prayerful support and the mission of LCANZ people and overseas partner churches are enabling God’s spirit to change lives with the gospel.

God bless your reading,


PS – Remember, The Lutheran is now available as a digital edition. To subscribe, give a subscription of a gift, or to register for free digital access as an existing print subscriber, go to www.thelutheran.com.au/subscribe

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