I got an email from my aunt last night. It was a message for my mum from her cousin in Canada. He was announcing his death and the death of his wife. It was entitled "Kay and Ernie's New Adventure" (Ernie's his nickname). They had decided to go for "Medical Aid in Dying". Both had painful diseases from which they weren't going to recover. But both were far from near the end of life. Their email said that they had realised, "...the fun in life was over...".
So they contacted a Dr Elbe from "The Hemlock Society". The name itself is disturbingly macabre. I can see why you might choose to call your assisted dying organisation "Dignitas". But naming it after a highly poisonous plant just seems rather sick.
So the dates were set and sent: "Kay departing home on January 11th and me on January 15th." Just like that. I read them out to my mum. She didn't sleep much.
She knew Winston had been unwell and unhappy, but she was shocked that he had had himself killed. Because that is what had happened. I wonder if we will be shocked in 10 years time? Or whether we'll be getting emails quite regularly from aged and not so aged relatives who have decided to have their lives ended.
Sadly, it's an almost inevitable result of the lost hope of resurrection life. It seems ironic, that in a world that increasingly doesn't really believe in life after death, people are choosing to end the only life that they think that they will have. (I know Winston talked of Kay going home, but from what I know it was a turn of phrase rather than a genuine belief in something better to come). But that it what the Bible expects. The apostle Paul says this,
'If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”' (1 Corinthians 15:32)
If there's no life after death then maxing out on what the world regards as pleasure now is all that you have. And that's why people chose to end their lives when the "fun... is over". Because what's the point of life without fun?
Those in favour of assisted dying will tell you that it's about ending pain for those who are just about to die anyway. It isn't. It's assisted suicide for those who have lost hope.
Because it is the certain hope that because Jesus rose from the dead, so all those who follow Him will rise to new life, that enables Christians to keep going through suffering. Be that physical or emotional. Resurrection hope gives strength for today's pain, because there is a forever of tomorrows with out pain.
It is because we know that this life is not the end, that we don't have to end it.