Monday, December 21, 2015

The Way of All Flesh

This year we have endured too many family funerals and we have one more to take care of before the end of the year. The older I get the more common these life events become. The term “The Way of All Flesh” refers to the fact that all who are born also die. This is part of the master’s plan and I am comfortable with the fact that at some point my physical body will cease to function and my soul will return to the creator of the universe.

"Doctors think that you only call palliative care when your patient is about to die," says Diane Meier, M.D., director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "Patients don't know what it is and don't demand it. They don't realize they have a right to care focused on improving function and quality of life."

As a pastor I have watched many people go through the process of moving from their physical life to their spiritual life. Some people make that journey suddenly because of accident or a swift illness. Others go slowly with advanced age or by way of a slow painful illness. When it comes to the later most doctors don’t like to give up on finding a cure and that is their training.

We each do have a choice to make now before the event of our death is close and emotional. Do I want to fight for life to the bitter end no matter the cost or pain? Do I want to choose the conditions where I can say enough is enough let me go? I have already done that by creating and signing my “Advance Directives” and informed my family and my doctor.

It is your right and your choice, either way you want, to choose how you prefer to die given a terminal illness. The time to make that decision is now while you have a clear mind and are in control. My death and yours is not a matter of "IF" but "When and how."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Where was Jesus born?

In the Gospels Jesus is born in Bethlehem and that is all we really know for sure. People over the centuries have assumed that Jesus was born in a stable but the Gospels do not say that. People have added to the story the stable with cows and donkeys but they are not noted in the scripture. It tells us in Luke only that they laid him in a manger but that does not necessarily mean in a cave or a wooden stable out back of the house. That could have happened but we are not given that detail. A manger could have been brought inside a home.

We are told that there was no room in the "inn" as though the motel six was full. Many people in the Jerusalem area had a second story that they rented out to travelers especially during the high holy days when a lot of people made the journey to the temple. It was a good way to make extra money. Remember the upper room that Jesus and his disciples used during Passover? So the rented space or inn may have been full but seeing that Mary was about to deliver the home owner/inn keeper may have welcomed them into the lower part of the house.

Some first century homes also had a place for animals in the lower section of the house, see the picture below of what it might have looked like.