23 January 2009

At the Deathbed

There is no moment of a pastor's calling more blessed than when he stands beside the deathbed, with the family gathers, and prays the prayers for commendation of the dying, and sees a Christian off to the joys of the Eternal Kingdom.  Yesterday afternoon I had this privilege once again.  The breath coming ever more slowly, the eyes already fixed on what we cannot see here, and then the peace at the end.  And through it all the Words of Scripture, the prayers of the Church, the songs of the people of God:

Psalm 23 sung
John 10 - "And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish and no one can snatch them out of My hand..."
Rev 21 - "For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd..."
Litany - O Lord, have mercy... That You forgive all his sins... That You give him refreshment and everlasting blessing... That You give him joy and gladness in heaven with Your saints...
Our Father
Commendation:  Go in peace, N.  May God the Father who created you, may God the + Son who redeemed and saved you with His blood, may God the Holy Spirit, who sanctified you in the water of Holy Baptism, receive you into the company of saints and angels to await the resurrection and live in the light of His glory forevermore.
Singing of Nunc Dimittis:  "Lord, now lettest Thou..."
Singing of "Lord, let at last Thine angels come..."
Benediction:  "The Lord bless you and keep you..."
More hymns of the resurrection:  "The Strife is O'er!" "I Know that My Redeemer" "Jesus Lives!" and other favorites and finally, the last breath. 

O God, for the glorious privilege of attending your people as they depart this age, Your unworthy servant gives You glory and praise!

6 comments:

Dennis said...

Pastor,

When I was deacon in our last Church, I was witness to this on several occassions. It is truly a beautiful time when someone leaves and goes into the loving arms of the Savior. I experienced last year first hand when my grandmother entered the gates of larger life. What a blessing and consolation to be there in prayer with the Church to hear the beautiful words of the Gospel and then see her depart.

William Weedon said...

Amen, Dennis!

Anonymous said...

In addition to that what you have noted I have often sung versified Psalm 4 from the (CPH)Psalite..."I will lie down in peace, in peace, for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety..."

Rev. Wright

William Weedon said...

Quite fitting too. We gather together to tuck one of the Lord's little ones into bed, to await the light of Resurrection Morning.

edie said...

We just lost a member of our parish this week...this post was very comforting and timely. Thank you!

Elephantschild said...

We've been covering the section on Angels and Man in Koehler's Summary in Bible class, and that's prompted our Pastor to speak of the commendation of the dying and the angels who wait to carry us to Jesus.

I tried very hard not to catch my dear husband's eye while in class - I thought perhaps both of us would break into tears!