Rules of a Godly Life: Dying

Today, another of the Rules of a Godly Life.  I think it’s fitting this is the first listed in the devotional:

Rules Godly Life DyingAwake in the morning with your thoughts turned to God. Think, this might be your last day of life. And when you go to bed at night, pause a moment to realize that it is unknown to you whether you will awake again on this earth, or whether your next awakening may be at the resurrection. For this reason, we can see that it is expedient to pray daily; in the morning and again at evening, come before God upon your knees, thanking Him for continued care, confessing your sins and shortcomings, and praying for forgiveness.

While in Ohio I learned firsthand from an Amish friend that his mother had died. I had known of health issues but, since we missed connecting on a couple of occasions, I had no inkling that she didn’t make it.

On her deathbed they gathered to sing for her.  She passed away before they finished the song.  Her passing wasn’t spoken of in hushed tones or with reddened eyes. Clearly she was missed but there was a matter-of-factness and acceptance about it.

Most of us don’t enjoy speaking or thinking of life’s end. We shy away, avoiding it in our words and by our actions.  Some fight the signs of aging cosmetically.  Others try to recapture youth by their behavior and consumption decisions.  The more we treasure our worldly life it seems the harder it is to think of it ending.

For the Amish death is a part of life.  With large families and long lists of friends and acquaintances, death happens to people you know often.  Which makes for real and frequent reminders of the importance of the latter part of this Rule: being prepared.

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    5 Comments

    1. Valerie

      Scriptural way of viewing life and death

      Very good thoughts on this Erik, (you sure you haven’t jumped the fence?) Thank you. Having this understanding probably has alot to do with how they view everything and seeing things that happen as God’s will so not as anxious as we tend to be. When you said “death is a part of life” that was always the reply of my friend who was Amish-when talking about someone who died-he always says “It’s a part of life”.
      Also, a question he always asks people is “Are you ready to meet your Maker?”

      A local pastor here in OH went to an Amish funeral (I heard this on his radio ministry), expecting to minister to them ahd he was quite surprised on how THEY ministered to HIM

      I love that-live each day as being aware it could be our last, what would we do differently?

    2. Juanita Cook

      Death is a big part of life. We should be able to talk about it. But when I have tried with my husband and my family they always say. Don’t talk that way. You’re not going anywhere any time soon. I think they just don’t want to think about it ever. It is very uncomfortable for them to talk about death. And you never know when it’s your time. I wish we could be able to talk about it so we can come to terms with it. Death comes to all of us sooner or later. And hopefully we are ready and prepared for that day.

    3. Alice Mary

      Just movin' on...

      I grew up around a lot of death, as depressing as that sounds! I remember my parents taking me (youngest of 3 girls) to wakes and funerals of friends or family on a fairly regular basis. Both of my grandpas were dead long before I was born, and both grandmas died within about 18 mos. of each other (they died “upstairs” in our second floor flat, in the same bed and bedroom).

      I actually have fond memories of hanging out with my cousins at multiple wakes for grandmothers, an aunt, cousins of my parents…it wasn’t a “secret” at all, and our Catholic upbringing taught us about heaven/hell/purgatory—all we had to do was “behave” and ask forgiveness & change our ways (again, we were just kids then) and we could end up in heaven. I think my kids are more frightened/troubled by death (in their ’30’s now), just because there haven’t been that many deaths in our family to make it seem commonplace, a part of life.

      The older I get, the more I’m trying to make peace with death, as I know it’s inevitable, and I refuse to run in fear from it while I’m still living (what fun is that?) I hope to have a “last laugh” of sorts by being interred in a mausoleum with the inscription, “Every day ABOVE ground is a good day.” (Think about it.) 😉

      The Amish truly have a healthy attitude toward our ultimate fate. I hope to be able to do the same.

      Alice Mary

    4. Carolyn B

      While this is a topic not much discussed, it is very necessary to contemplate for our own future spiritually and also as to how we may want to say good bye in a medical crisis (advance directive, etc.).

    5. Laura

      When my dad passed away, my parents’ paster (who has a truly beautiful voice) and I were singing hymns to him. It was truly one of the most spiritual and meaningful moments of my life, and it seemed such a natural thing. Yes, death is a part of life. That doesn’t mean we have to dwell on it, but understanding that, as the old saying goes, nobody gets out of this life alive, means that pretending it doesn’t happen is rather pointless, isn’t it?

      Grief is also a very real emotion. But taking comfort in the fact that our loved ones are in a better place and keeping them in our memories helps. I think the Amish attitude towards death is something we all could learn a lot from.