Two years ago, Special Gathering pastor, area director and elders met together to investigate what our members who are mentally challenged need to know and understand about the Christian faith and theology. It was boiled down to three things that are found within the liturgical worship.
- Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
- Christ has died.
- Christ is risen.
- Christ will come again.
For our members, we added short sentences of explanation of the three statements.
- Why did Christ die?
- To take away my sins.
- Why is Christ risen?
- To prove that we do not have to fear death.
- Why will Christ come again?
- To do away with evil forever!
At each chapel worship service, we repeat this simple declaration. During the past few weeks, these proclamations have become extremely personal to me. Though my husband does not have a disease, his body is slowly shutting down. While it won’t be tomorrow or even next month, he is dying.
A month ago, I knew this but I could not have written it or even admitted this fact to myself. However, over the past weeks, the simple phrase that I repeat twice a week at Special Gathering worship: “To prove we do not have to fear death” has grown in my heart. Slowly, it has been transplanted into my every day life.
Each night as we say good night, my husband and I have a simple conversation of a sentence or two. Part of what is happening is that he sleeps 24 hours a day. He is no longer able to carry on a conversation, even with me. Nevertheless, it is apparent that neither of us are afraid of death. While I’ve not feared death, I have feared being left alone. But that is gone.
What has replaced the fear is a sweetness that is hard to explain. Peace reigns in our home, especially in his bedroom. Sure the work of caring for him is hard. Additionally, it seems to never end. But the sweetness that we are experiencing brings its own benefits.
“To prove we do not have to fear death” has become the essence of our daily life. It is a profoundly simple promise that has transformed our life.