The Sacredness of Death

Welcome back to the place where I sometimes ponder the tough stuff. If we leave pretending behind and commit to be real, then we encounter all, no shortcuts. So stay with me if you can. We can have confidence we are not alone when we walk with Jesus through the scary, hard to know places. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

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We all think about death at some point.
Our own death, losing loved ones, and perhaps those we have already lost.
Though an end to life is inevitable, we sometimes spend a good deal of energy avoiding the topic. It is my opinion that our culture does not honor death.

I feel sad when I think of the many older people spending their last days in a nursing home who die without the chance to celebrate their life, or the many who in desperation determine their own expiration date.

How can our lives change if we seize the opportunity to encounter the sacredness of death?

Let’s look at Jesus’ friend Mary:
John 12:3
Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with her fragrance.

 

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Can you imagine what type of feeling was running through Mary’s veins?

Grasping her long hair, surrounded by an inviting aroma and losing herself in the sacred space at the feet of Our Savior. Though Mary in her humanness could not fully comprehend what was to come, Our Lord granted her the wisdom to acknowledge his coming death.

John 12:7
Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.”

In what ways do we prepare and honor the anticipated death of our loved ones?

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My experience with Hospice when my mother died was like none other. There in the privacy of our home, nurses came to adjust meds and to counsel me. I was so lost and searching for someone to speak truth, to give me some assurance because I had none. I recall the nurse. Her kind, middle-of-life face, smiled easily. Her brown eyes looked deeply into mine. “You have already begun the grieving process,” she said in a calm, quiet voice.

Though I was panicky at the thought of my mom dying and knew nothing of God, the nurse’s mannerisms told me about that hospital bed in our living room, where my mother would take her last breath … sacred space.

The Hospice nurse was my mother’s Mary.

Honor, prepare, peace, as best as I could muster.

In Plan B Further Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott tells of a woman at her church on fire for Jesus who got sick and anticipated her own death. Knowing she would be cremated, the woman asked the children at church to decorate the box where her ashes would be kept. This story touches me because like Jesus, this woman took charge of leading others to her sacred space. As if to say to everyone, adults included, “it’s okay. Yes, I will die, but it will be okay.”

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What if we are caught off guard with death? Where is the sacred in that?

Gail Cooper, a Daughter to the King, a speaker (we met at a conference a couple years back), a wife and a mom, graciously agreed to comment for this blog.

She and her husband lost their son. No warning and a long search.

Gail says this:
“A parent never gets over the grief of losing a child. That’s just the way it is for me, anyway.
What helps me through the darkest days is realizing death is not the end for a believer but the beginning of eternal life with Christ.
I have come to understand that even though, at times, I still can feel so broken, something beautiful is taking place … something holy.
Truth is:
The sacredness of death is a shift that takes places when our soul exits the body and enters the splendor of the Savior.
This gives me hope.
This gives me peace.”

Jesus and His angels are celebrating Gail’s heart. Can you hear their trumpets?

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John 16:20
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice.

For the person leaving this earth, there is such amazement waiting, a Heaven we know very little about.

For the rest of us who muddle around in grief and sadness, Jesus is our light that fuels our life. He has not walked this earth for over 2000 years, yet He is still shining.
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John 16:22
So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

A joy that rises above loss, pain, and suffering.

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Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.

Jesus in all His compassionate power encourages joy now and promises only joy in the next life.

In the words of my dear friend Diana, “Death is indeed as sacred as the life we have known because it is the portal to the sacred life we have yet to know”.

I visualize life and death as mirrors of each other.

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If we embrace life with the people God has given us

savor the moments

soak up His love to share

aren’t we using the most exquisite perfume to prepare for the eventual goodbye,

to honor the sacred space where life and death become one?

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I pray these words encouraged you in some way, or brought a name to your heart. Maybe your friend, mother, or colleague needs these words today.

If you want to learn more about Gail, have patience with http://www.gailspeaker.com. Her website is currently under construction. Or, https://facebook.com/gailcooperspeaker

We will hear from Dena Talmage on Tuesday, sharing her beautiful story.

Next Thursday look for some lightness here. I will return to talk about the summer version of FBS 🙂

In the meantime, if you want to read something lighter, I am honored to be interviewed by Author Jacqueline Patterson. If you would like to read my short thoughts on being a writer, check out https://japatterson.com/MotivationMondayInterviewwithSpeakerandAuthorJulie Dibble

If you need prayers, please do not hesitate to email me at juliedibblespeaks@gmail.com

We can connect on social media more often in these places:

https://facebook.com/jdibble4Him

https://twitter.com/@julie_dibble

https://instagram.com/@jayjule03

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14 thoughts on “The Sacredness of Death

  1. This is a beautiful but powerful message Julie period I am in all of your understanding of how God works in each and every one of us. I am blessed by you and your inspiration. You are a gift from God

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    • Thank you so much Marie for taking the time to be here and comment. The gift today was the nudge from God to write this. I admit I was hesitant. To Him be the glory and my heart is full with all the loving people He has placed in my path. Blessings, Julie

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  2. Beautifully well said, my friend, and more is needed on this subject, for there are lots of kinds of death, not just of the physical body… I pray to see the Sacred in it all… sometimes it takes me a while. But God is in and through it all – whether we acknowledge it or not. His holy presence brings a different note to the music we would otherwise imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you dear Diana for giving such heart-felt thought to this subject. I can envision many kinds of death, as you suggest. Perhaps we can brainstorm over lunch sometime? Yes, God is always there, whether we see or feel Him. I feel so incredibly thankful for eyes that see. Love this: “His holy presence brings a different note to the music we would otherwise imagine” Blessings to you in this next hour, Julie

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  3. When my father died two months ago, there was certainly a sacredness that cut through the pain. Death ravaged his body before it took him, but God redeemed those last moments with a beauty that was unmistakably Heaven. *taking a moment to wipe the unexpected tears*
    I agree with you that we don’t respect the elderly, but I think our culture does reserve a respect/sacredness for death. That’s why we have so many rituals surrounding it. It may be one of the few things that remain universally sacred. I need to think on this some more…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankful you were aware of God’s presence at your father’s death. It is the only way I think beauty can be seen, for I can see beauty looking back upon my mom’s death but it was not any part of the original experience. I will join you in thinking some more … someone else commented that more needs to be written about death in general as it applies to other aspects of life besides just the end.

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