Life Library — Death

Life Ministry   •   The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

  • A Funeral Planning Primer — Your funeral is ultimately about Jesus and His resurrection, and all the glory in your life belongs to Him. Making plans in advance for your funeral to confess your faith in Jesus and the hope of the resurrection can make the process simpler when the time comes, and it can give your family an opportunity to hear of God’s love for you and for them.

  • All Saints’ Day 101 — All Saints’ Day is given to confess the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. In the meantime, the Church in heaven and the Church on earth is one holy Christian Church. We are with the saints when we gather around the altar.

  • Amazingly Complex — Health care’s amazing technology also creates impossibly complex situations. Three questions that Christians can and should ask themselves can help guide decisions as life draws to its end.

  • Asking the Right Questions — When Christians face situations where they must make decisions about continued medical therapy for themselves or others, there are questions to discuss with family members, medical professionals, and their pastor. Our confidence lies not in our ability to make perfect decisions but in Jesus Christ, who holds us in His merciful hands.

  • Bold Confidence — When Lutherans are faced with death, they sing. Hymns that console us also remind us of our Baptism as we anticipate the resurrection of our own bodies.

  • Christmas Mourning — The holidays can be a time of sadness and loneliness, especially for those mourning the passing of a loved one. During the Christmas season, the baby Jesus’ gentle hand reaches out. In the end, He will take them by the hand and lead them into His joy and peace.

  • Comfort in the Face of Death — If you want to comfort a loved one who is dying, don’t pretend everything will be OK. Our comfort begins at the cross. We provide care to suffering people when we allow them their cries of forsakenness (see Psalm 22). We don’t have to pretty up dying with false hopes.

  • God Is Not Done With You — There are no human words that can take away the pain suffered by grieving mothers. For now, the best we can hope for is some way to endure. God, in His mercy, has provided a way.

  • Grieving With Hope — We all struggle in times of death, including Martin Luther. With repentant hearts as Christians, death invites us to grieve the loss of a precious person – a gift to us and a life that has meant so much. As Christians, we remember that “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess. 4:14).

  • Heavenly Misconceptions — The promise of eternal life for the Christian is the greatest and most comforting promise our Lord has given to us. There are, however, a number of misconceptions about heaven and what this promise means to us.

  • Hope and Guidance — Advance medical directives convey our wishes to caregivers when we no longer can. Christians approach these differently than the world since we know that our lives, body, and soul are in God’s hands.

  • Hope That Gives Life — Christians need not fear death because God gives us His life and the promise of eternal life.

  • If I Should Die — Everyone needs to be ready to die. Death can come suddenly. But if death may come without warning, is it still possible to prepare for it? Yes. The Christian has many avenues of preparation.

  • I Want to Burden My Loved Ones — We shouldn’t hesitate to empower our loved ones to make medical decisions for us as long as they avoid the futile question “What would he have wanted?” and content themselves with the question “What is best for him now?”

  • Luther's Handbook on Dying — The Gospel prepares you to die well. We prepare for death by going to the very place where death is defeated, where time stops, and where we receive the medicine of immortality. God prepares us for death by the manifold gifts that He bestows upon us in the temple of His body, the Church.

  • Medical Directives and Some Misunderstandings — Medical directives give directions in health care decision-making in anticipation of the possibility that the patient will be unable to do so in the future due to illness (coma, Alzheimer’s, etc.). There are two kinds: the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

  • Mercy on Holy Ground — There is perhaps no more important place on earth for a Christian to show mercy to his or her neighbor than at the deathbed of a dear brother or sister in Christ.

  • Murdered in the Woods by a Robber — The thought of suicide is never to be an option even though a government may permit or even promote it with legalized assisted suicide. The evil one is behind suicide as he was the murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). We stay on guard against the works of the evil one and support those who grieve because of a suicide.

  • Numbering Our Days — This Bible study helps us look to God, who teaches us to number our days (Psalm 90), as we prepare for death.

  • Prepared for Death — When we enter the working world in early adulthood, we begin to save for retirement, though it’s 50 years away. If we can be so concerned about our earthly future, why can’t we understand the necessity of preparing for death long before it comes?

  • Simple Promises — There are practical ways you can talk to your children about death. When a loved one dies, children should hear simple truths.

  • The Christian Response to Assisted Suicide — Many in our world are wandering in a desert of confusion, measuring the quality of health and life against oddly-contrived notions that ignore the value that God gives to all human lives from conception to natural death. Our natural death is the day that He has formed and chosen to end our earthly life.

  • The Pain of Loss — Grief has many dimensions and may seem unpredictable in its ebb and flow. Yet in Christ we find strength along the way.

  • Unchanging Identities — No matter what vocations the Lord grants you, your identity in Christ provides comfort, even during the pain of miscarriage.

  • Waiting for Death, Waiting for Christ — “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, andafter that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:27-28).

  • Waiting for the Resurrection — Our thoughts as Christians are centered on what has been revealed in Scripture about our Lord’s return.

  • We Believe in the Resurrection of the Body — My grandmother was created body and soul, every member lovingly created out of divine goodness and mercy by God our Father who took care of them (cf. Jer. 1:5, Ps. 139:13-14). The separation of her soul from her body is not good news. It is a big part of why death is our enemy.

  • What About ... Death and Dying? — A reprint of a tract from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s “What About …” series, this resource is intended to help us face death and understand what death is and how Christians face death and deal with grief.

  • You’re Already Dead — Our culture wants to talk about death as just another step in life’s journey, a natural and even beautiful transition to “a better place.” But these things are partial truths at best and are often based on false beliefs.

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