As I sat down this morning to begin the task of putting together the slightly late November newsletter for PPL, I received a link to an article about Dr. Peter Rasmussen, a physician and advocate for “physician aid in dying.” Rasmussen was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor, grade 4 glioblastoma. He chose to end his life on Tuesday, Nov 3rd, “on his own terms”. How incredibly sad that he cut short God’s activity in his own life. The article makes no mention of Rasmussen’s faith or of any hope of life beyond this earth.
His story is jolting against the backdrop of last Sunday’s celebration of the lives of those saints of the church who’ve gone home from our congregations during the past year. Our hearts were full of gratitude for their legacy of faith and that of generations of faithful believers before them. How enriched we are to be mystically bonded to them across the bridge of time and worlds through our common resurrection hope in Jesus Christ! Our joyful celebration of their presence in our community of faith is especially poignant in our local congregation as with fresh joy/grief another dear saint went home to her Savior also on Tuesday. The difference is, Toni went home in the fullness of God’s time for her life. Toni was not ending her life on her own terms, but I am convinced she took the hand of her Lord in complete trust as she stepped joyfully into his presence and joined the saints on the other side.