Quality of Life and the End of Life


We are meant to be actively answering God’s calling for us throughout our lives. At any given moment, we might not recognize how what we are doing fits into the fulfillment of our baptismal calling (to trust God, proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace*) but if we are to be true to God, we can’t help but fulfill it. 

Besides, in this case, the whole is more than the list of all the things we did in life.


Sometimes, when a person can’t DO what they would like to do/ought to do, they feel bad. But the bottom line, “trusting God” isn’t all about doing. It is about being within the circumstances of your life.


I have been thinking about all this a lot as my mother lingers at the end of her life. She has been a woman of great influence, motivation and inspiration to others in her community. She has been a “tower of strength” both physically and spiritually. Throughout her life, people marveled at how much she could do, what all she could accomplish. Now, as she nears death, people are again marveling at what she is doing. She has lived three weeks when the hospice staff estimated it would be “a week or two” and her vital signs are still relatively stable. She has told us repeatedly that she trusts God and that she is not afraid. She is peaceful, except for one thing…she is not sure her work here on earth is finished, or that she did everything she should have done.


How does one ever know? And how do we get so bound up in the tally of our actions that we cannot rest in the love of God? I have reassured her that she did the best she could (But what do I know? I am just her daughter, the pastor.)  I have reassured her that God loves her just as she is and that her task now is only to be loved (that made her smile). I am not sure she believes me though. I hope she does.


But for all of us… this is where we MUST go back to our baptism. First and foremost, we are to trust God. We are to live as resurrected beings: reassured of our forgiveness and the enormity of God’s love (for ourselves, and for the benefit of others), confident in the life to come and trusting that wherever life takes us (even death) that Jesus is already there, living a life of justice-doing and peace-making. This is where “quality of life” resides. Then no matter what stage of life we are in, what our vocation might be, what we do or did not do, we have a quality life.


Do what matters. Trust in God.


*from service of Baptism, Evangelical Lutheran Worship