Text study on 2 Corinthians 4:13 — 5:1
Lectionary text for Sunday, June 10, 2012
She said it was her favorite Scripture passage and she wanted it read at her funeral. The passage had been a source of comfort and hope for her as she lived, fought with and eventually stopped all treatment for cancer.
She said, “I want to live fully and spend as much time with my family as possible without the effect of chemo or radiation.” Cancer treatments sometimes have a way of making you sicker and making it harder to live life with any kind of quality or fullness. The drugs were no longer working to decrease the cancer cell count in her body.
She taught me much about living. As she let go of medical curative methods and held on to God’s promises, she was able to live without the fear of dying. She enjoyed her family, shared in meals and visits, reminisced about wonderful times together and love shared.
When it came time for her to take her last breath, her family was with her. Her daughter called. She said, “It was holy and awesome. I have never experienced anything like that before, I will miss her but I know we will meet again.”
As a pastor and chaplain I have often read this passage from 2 Corinthians to people when they are struggling with a life-threatening illness or transitioning into end of life, when they are dying. It is filled with hope and promise and it reminds us that there is something more and someone bigger than ourselves.
We are all transitioning into end of life, we will all die. And this passage is filled with hope for us too.
Our certainty in Christ is that even when we take our last breath and life, as we know it, ends, we have a sure and certain hope. God has bigger plans for us.
As people of God, as the church gathered in word and sacrament, we know this promise. Living in faith is living with the knowledge that there is more than this earthly life. We can let go of the fear of dying and live with purpose and hope.
“For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”
- Which Scripture passages resonate with you and give you hope on which to stand in hard times?
- How does your faith inform the way that you live?
- How has Christ encountered you in your fear? Through Scripture? Through the care of another? Through worship?
Ann Schlossnagle is an ordained pastor of the ELCA. She is doing a long-term supply in Philadelphia and is involved in ministries in the ELCA’s Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware-Maryland synods. She is a member of University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Philadelphia and is rostered in the ELCA’s Oregon Synod.