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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'We entrust you to God'

A family prays together before the mother's respirator is removed

Using the service for commendation of the dying in the new ELCA Renewing Worship resource, a pastor leads a family in prayer before their mother’s respirator is removed. He tells how the family experienced healing to go on with living, even as their dying mother received ultimate healing.

The story begins:

My parishioner, whom I’ll call “Harriet,” had been healthy and strong through most of her 83 years. But for the past few months she had lain in a hospital bed, her body weakening. Until recently she still had that twinkle in her eye, but had been increasingly in pain and now was unresponsive.

Almighty God, look on Harriet, whom you made your child in baptism.
Comfort her with the promise of life with all your saints…*

Her grown children, seeing even that twinkle gone and watching her labored, assisted breathing, began to wrestle with a painful question: Was it time to let her go?

Give us grace now to accept the limits of human healing as we commend Harriet to your merciful care.


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October issue

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