From the Pastor
I am aware of a family where an aged relative has an advanced debilitating disease. It’s very sad. To sit with such a loved one is unsettling. We want to do something. In this case there is a radical and invasive surgery available, one that might improve the condition of the loved one, but may have considerable negative side effects. They elected to have the surgery. This situation discloses something of the inclination of our culture. Suffering is pointless and to be avoided at all costs. Watching someone else suffer is worse. We hate feeling powerless, we want to do something. We are activists, interventionists. Nothing good comes from suffering so medicine should do all it can to stop it. Unfortunately for this family, the surgery has not had the desired outcome. My heart goes out to them. But for me, there are some bigger lessons for us as Christians in this moment: Firstly, the biblical picture of suffering is that it pains us and God; but somehow, while suffering is itself bad, God can use it for good. Secondly, we are not God. Our desire to act, to intervene – at times flows from a misplaced belief that we can and ought to be in control. The next step in legalising Euthanasia came into force this week. A lamentable occasion. For me, nursing a dying grandparent as part of an extended family has been a binding experience that brought family closer. Good came from bad, our place was to journey with our loved one and with each other, not have a family debate about how we ought to intervene. Euthanasia betrays our inability to grieve with others. All human life has dignity from conception to death. Our dignity comes from God, not the capacity to choose.