When serving as a chaplain for another hospice—like hopefully all chaplains in all hospices—I never emphasized my personal faith. But then and now Christianity influences me, even as I try to remain open to learning from the various religious traditions (or lack of religion) represented by the dying patients and families that have been part of my work.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16)
This verse from Luke is one of the places where Jesus broke the rule about not working on the Sabbath—he healed!—and was condemned by the religious authorities. Worse, he healed a . . . woman! Worse yet, the incident occurred in a synagogue. While I am a Christian pastor, I don’t think the implications of this passage are limited to Christianity or Judaism. Whether someone is Hindu, agnostic, or spends weekends worshipping a three iron while strolling along a favorite golf course, Jesus’ statement resonated with universal truth.
I’ve seen it in hospice. One of the suggestions I make to families is to let their loved one know—when it seems appropriate—that it will be all right for him or her to die. Read More →by