From Our Minister's Work Station
From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian. ...more

29/08/09: Life Is a Gift From God

I am aware of double standards providing a difficult truth at the moment. What value do we give to life? Our homes bristle with safety features, public buildings have to meet rigorous standards even the most humble car now has air bags and woe to those who suggest we are going too far in thinking the unthinkable.

However, expensive drugs are not to be flashed around the NHS without very good return anymore; money to fight fires has seen reduction; and the motorway lights at Exeter are no longer on all night. Oh and Euthanasia looks pretty set to become law in the minds of some. We have a paradox.

We are kept safe beyond reason compared to some countries and our lives are being judged by human standards of worthiness by the movers and shakers of the age. And those who shout the loudest will prevail it seems. Euthanasia has been very much in the news of late. God’s gift of life is open for discussion. Someone recently said “We are being made to justify our place in the world and it’s not proving comfortable”.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say the debate is rather one sided of late. The work of the Hospice movement and the care of so many familys and friends is being lost and undervalued. Those who support Dignitas have no shortage of media cover. Those who decide on this route seem compelled to publicise their action and most ‘celebrate’ what is taking place. Films have been made, books written and a clever phrase has been thrown into the ears of the Nation, ‘my quality of life’. It’s having the effect of moving the goal posts and is this a good idea. The whole subject is fraught with emotion and it plays on our deepest fears. None of us want to be incapacitated, we don’t want to suffer pain and we do not want to be a burden to others. We should also consider the pressures Euthanasia brings to patient and carers. It is no easy option. In world that cuts corners can we really be trusted to use Euthanasia without inappropriate dispatches occuring?

All the Faiths have contributions to make in this debate and most of them do not play well in the ears of those who agree with Dignitas. Proclaiming that life is sacred at the beginning or the ending of life is not a phrase guaranteed to win friends in the modern world. Saying that Gods timing is perfect will be disputed in many congregations. And the ‘little’ matter of why God allows suffering is rarely our best moment of explaining the Christian Faith either. Yet all three statements should challenge our thinking. Life is a gift from God and He marks out its time. We don’t always recognize the bigger picture of lives touching one another in suffering, but many agonize about the wait for the death. As for suffering it is a result of our fallen world, it is part of the damaged creation but that isn’t a cheering thought when it’s your turn to suffer.

Broadsheet campaigns to bring Euthanasia into Law are not giving the full story. Questions about our life, the meaning of life and who sustains our lives have filled the minds of people down the ages. Today, we don’t think about the real challenges that life turns up. People are obsessed by trivia and its robbing people people of any structure to cope with reality. Euthanasia and its watch word ‘my quality of life’ assumes that life is ours to do with as we please. Well that is not so, our lives belong to God and he has apportioned them. Life cannot always be enjoyed, it is not without pain or problem and the Christian Faith only promises a peaceful eternity. It does not say life will be a great time before we die. But Christianity offers strength, hope, and peace and it commends those who wait on the Lord. We have eternity to rejoice in heaven even if our cross is to wait on the Lord for that welcome

And yes, you may have to remind me of this one day.

Best wishes

Brian