Deathbed Scenes

It’s been a weekend of ideas for me and I’m happy to share. I’d be really interested in reading more deathbed scenes written by Lutherans. In particular, it struck me that unbelievers, or even irregular attenders, may have no idea how wrenching it can be for a believer to watch death approach a loved one.

I’m not trying to say people have to be wrecked with tears. I’m not saying death isn’t at times a relief because of the release from pain and myriad other fallen elements. What I am saying is this: Christians are totally allowed to love the body of their loved one. Watching that body succumb can be an intensely theological experience! Even though confidence in Christ, heaven, and the hope of the resurrection are very real, too.

But some think a memorial service is kinder to others than a church funeral. Or, maybe any other reason exists why people prefer the things they plan for themselves in those pre-packaged dealios. A temptation may be to simplify and strip the humanity out of the scenarios playing out daily around the world, but some deeply exploratory work in fiction could be, I suspect, terribly eye-opening in a good way.

My analytical side would like to see a variety of death scenes in one piece. One could follow a hospice worker, chaplain, funeral worker, nurse, kindly janitor, whatever. One could follow a person visiting the ailing on both sides of their marriage and so be able to include diverse elements of worldview. But any amount of Lutheran deathbed scenes can follow the great example of Hammer of God.

I don’t think I’m the only one cut up by the tombstones of my family, looking forward to the absolute annihilation of cemeteries. I think of my loved ones, and the members of my family who went before me, and I am suddenly entirely about the resurrection of the world and Judgment Day. Come, Lord Jesus! Because we have a gracious Judge who has withheld nothing from us!

But a lot of people don’t even know about the resurrection of the dead. They don’t see that God can work in that way with their own fallen flesh. After all, they haven’t experienced it yet. Still, particularly as people attend church less and less such teachings will be important to highlight, grabbing leisure time and opportunities as the former opportunities of church attendance decline.

People can be so separated from death. But we are Lutherans. We know we are baptized into death and that that death is for reconciliation and resurrection.

Maybe there are better ways to express what I mean, but just think about the topic if you’re looking for an idea. 🙂 Go into the depths of a Lutheran funeral, because there simply are not many others like it. Go into some of the reasonings of the past and some of the distancing of the present. See what you can do. Pray for the many standing beside, or lying upon, those bedsides.


And, if you know of other great Lutheran deathbed scenes, comment here or on my author Facebook page. Happy writing!

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