Thursday, July 14, 2016
Death of a Christian
Death makes us, reflect with respect, on a serious happening in life. We don't dwell on the failings of the deceased. Is there anyone without fault? We pray for the repose of the person's soul.
Words we use at the death of someone, are not used randomly. We think, and are discrete in what we say and do. An article in the Peace Weekly discusses our feelings when faced with death of someone. Many words are used, and each one has a slightly different feel: died, deceased, a person left us, went to another world, left this world, passed away, breathed her last, returned home, passed into Nirvana and many others.
With these expressions, we extend our condolences and respect for the deceased to family and friends. According to the way a person lived and died, there are differences in the expressions used. He shows us this with the accounts of the way the deaths of some well-known persons in Korea were written up in the press. Some died, some left this world, others passed on, etc..
Those who believe in an after-life usually have a different expression. Buddhism will often express having attained Buddhahood or entered nirvana. Protestants often say they have heard the call of God and returned to him: a meaningful way to express the meaning of death for a Christian. Catholics use an abbreviated expression meaning: "lived a good life and finished it well." Our writer feels what is missing is no allusion to the after-life.
These expressions, says the writer, do show a graded way of dealing with death. A bishop who recently died, in one of the papers was reported to have expired. He has no problem with people using whatever they feel comfortable with, but to avoid discrimination using the Catholic expression for all, would be proper, would-it-not?
Reporting on deaths that are accidental or have come about with circumstances far from proper makes it difficult for the press, at all times, to use words of respect and consolation. Even the Catholic paper in which the writer represents, does not find the same words used. At times, we have the Catholic expression of 'lived a good life and finished it well' but also 'left this world' which has little religious meaning.
He concludes the article with a reflection that death for a Christian is in God's realm. A person returns to God and on our part, we pray for them, use words of kindness and don't judge.