Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Death, Nursing and God's presence.

If you were to ask me out of the two professions which I have studied and worked, which gave me a greater feeling of God's presence? I would say for sure during my time as a nurse in palliative care. 

I read somewhere (and for the life of me I cannot find out where), that during the middle ages when a person was extremely close to death; there would be a multitude of people wanting to be near the dying person at the moment of life's extinction. The reason was that there was a belief that you could catch a glimpse of heaven as the person died and went to heaven. This was a phenomenon which people longed for; a look, even for an instant of heaven. 

While I have not have seen a wink of heaven. I have felt at times a presence, the supernatural; God. More times during nursing I have felt God through his people (in a univeral sence). In their extremes of incredible pain, conflct, turmoil. For me there is a presence, which helps me to be centred; even if the other participants in the events do not know it.

The studying of Scripture or the participation in worship I never had these expereinces of the presence of God. Scripture did help me focus, to reflect on God. Worship through liturgy would do the same. Charismatic worship would come close but there was to much manipulation to be real, for me. You can get the same buzz from a rock concert...

It is the God of the everyday which I wish to engage with. Nursing is good at that. The God of real life. Admittedly church helps me to focus and relflect on God, a reminder, of his characteristics. But as a replacement, to God of the everyday. No I actually think this is wrong. To seek God's face is an everyday experience. Not to be compentmentalised on a Sunday morning.


steven hamilton said...

Thanks for this makes me consider the missional-orientation of theology. My wife for the past year has been a nurse in an oncology unit, and we have since had several conversations along the same lines. Thanks for sharing!


Scott said...

Thanks for the comment Steve. Yep I think the missional-orientated theology is the way to go. Even if in many ways it is the most difficult.
Hats of to your wife, what a difficult but special job. Onclolgy where I've never seen people so desperate for hope.

Peace to her, and yourself.