The Church's Role in Health Care

As I write this, I’m listening to Scott Morris, a medical doctor and a United Methodist Pastor speak about the role of the church in healthcare. He just touched on an issue I’ve been struggling with as a pastor for a long time, how we die. Below is a close paraphrase (as close to a quote as I could get) of a point Scott Morris just made:

“What we are currently doing is torturing our parents and grandparents. People spend the last two weeks of their lives with a tube stuck down their nose, in a place where the lights are never turned off, surrounded by people who don’t know them well enough to love them. … The church needs to help people learn to die well. People can’t die with dignity, death takes away dignity, but we can die well.”

I’ve seen this so many times that I am fearful for my loved ones and myself. I’ve watched far too many people die in a manner similar to that described above. I’ve seen too many people linger on, kept barely alive when all quality of life is gone. All our medical technology, all of the fruits of research and development have only made it far harder for us to let go of life and move into the fullness of God’s love. Advances in medical science will not address this problem, but the gospel of Jesus Christ can. As the church, we have work to do and a contribution to make.