Pam's Paper Blog - January 2017

posted 5 Feb 2017, 00:34 by Richard Jones   [ updated 5 Feb 2017, 00:34 ]

Pam’s Paper Blog: 

Dear friends, 

The underfunding and crises of care for the elderly is very much in the news at the moment. People by and large are living longer. It is a mixture of medical treatments being so good that people don’t succumb to illnesses that would once have shortened their lives and our ability to stay fitter and healthier earlier whilst we are younger. But surely living longer is a good thing as long as it is a life of quality and not quantity?

But with this longer fitter existence has come a strange taboo about talking of death. There is this social unease about when it is polite to ask if someone is dying or not. In the press coverage of the crises of care for the elderly there is little discussion about the right to die. It usually centres on the inability of the NHS to fund us all right to the bitter end or the eye watering costs of care homes or the sad cases of neglect that occur.

As Christians we need to keep in tension two important truths. The first is that we are God’s temple. In I Corinthians Paul asks us this question. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”1 Cor 6: 19,20. Each of our lives, long or short, is precious to God and he wants us to use it for his service. We should live knowing that God lives in a relationship with us that is special and important. That’s equally true when we are young as well as when we’re very old.

The other truth is that death is not the end. As Christians we know that Jesus shows us the way to his separate kingdom; the one we call heaven. That when we die we leave this world and move fully into the kingdom of God. Paul was so sure of this that he says in his letter to the Philippians:  “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better;”Phil 1: 21-23.

During these winter months many elderly people are cut off from others because we all tend to stay indoors at home more.  As Christians we need to let that Holy Spirit within us prompt us to phone or visit elderly friends sharing with them and caring for them. But also we should be ready to talk about that hope we have of heaven. Not in some bombastic thoughtless way but in the way Paul does. That we know that death is gain rather than an embarrassment.  

Pam Daunton