Devotions

The miracle of life after death: Planning for your care with hope

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Older woman and older man huggingToday’s devotion honors National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16.

Recently, we were celebrating Holy Week, remembering the passion and death of Our Lord. During that time, one of the trials he endured was being abandoned by his disciples. They were so afraid of the earthly authorities that despite all their brave words to die alongside him, they fled from him in the garden and denied him at the judgment hall. They left him to suffer and die alone. Their fear overwhelmed their faith.

I shall not die but I shall live, and proclaim the works of the Lord.” —Psalm 118:17

Now, we are celebrating Easter, and one of the many miracles of this season is the transformation of Christ’s followers. Those who lacked the courage to even admit they had met Jesus before are reborn as world travelers and evangelists, the most effective ambassadors and communicators that history has ever known. The spread of Christianity to all the known world and beyond within a few generations is almost impossible, but also historical fact. And these same men and women who were so bold to declare the Name of Jesus were also willing to die for it. They endured persecution, prison, and martyrdom to proclaim the Word.

It is hard to overstate how dramatic this change is, and yet it is the logical conclusion of actually witnessing the Risen Christ. The disciples, who had vague notions of “heavens” or an afterlife from both Judaism and Roman mythology, were confronted with the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, and nothing could remain the same.

They knew that their future was eternal, that life after death is as real as this life, and they were reborn.

What about you? How have your experiences changed the way you look at your own life and death? Has the reality of Easter changed what matters most to you, both now and as you consider what comes next?

One way to leave a record of what matters most to you and what kind of life you want to live is to fill out an advance care directive. We at Presbyterian Homes & Services are taking part in National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, and spending all this month highlighting our own version of Honoring Choices, a free directive available to all residents, families and employees. For more information or to download a copy which you can complete on your own or with free facilitation, visit our health care directives page.

Pastor Chris WheatleyRev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

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