“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”—Matthew 9: 36 (NIV)
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it”—Luke 19:41
I included the above Scripture references in my first post of this year. The post title, “A Time for Compassion,” outlined my need to follow compassion as a way of life in. See, https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/37258556/4769733841293622971
Before I continue perhaps a caveat is in order. My post on compassion in January has embraced me through 2022. I will offer a brief response to what this means. I am aware of how controversial this post may be to readers. I offer it as an example of how our compassion may be put into action.
Compassion in a Time of Chaos
Compassion need not be a mere passive feeling but an expression of action about a response to the plight of someone else. There is a place for emotional response, yet this may not be enough. These past two years remind me of the importance of speaking into the confused and destructive path secular minds and actions have inflicted on Canada.
As a retired healthcare chaplain, I hang my head in shame in response to how leaders introduced euthanasia to our country. Canada is now the most permissive country in the world for the expansion of euthanasia, or so-called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Euthanasia has historically been recognized as murder in Canada. For whatever reason it is now legal. The reality of changing something in the Criminal Code to legal, does not make it moral. This also does not make it an act of compassion.
Canada has chosen a destructive path by the inclusion of euthanasia into the realm of “healthcare.” Politicians and healthcare professionals do not exhibit wisdom in their unabashed use of this approach to end-of-life. MAiD is even permitted in government funded hospice facilities now. This shows disregard for the philosophy of hospice.
Compassion in Action
Over the almost past two years I have devoted my energy to researching a compassionate and dignified response to euthanasia. Here is an idea of how I hope to encourage Christians to turn to acts of compassion instead of those which hasten death.
While I write this post my mind is on a ministry, I hope to develop within the church community of which I am a member. The focus is on end-of-life care for Christian people. This ministry offers a compassionate presence to Orthodox Christians with a terminal illness and requesting end-of-life spiritual care and support. A team of volunteers will assist Orthodox Christians rediscover and follow the ancient Christian burial practices, including a recognition of the physical body as a sacred vessel. As our biological existence ends, we prepare for our transition from this world and into the hands of God.
This ministry is not a mere noble gesture, but a viable alternative to euthanasia in Canada. I ask God to help me nurture compassion and love for people by not being involved in an act to hasten death.
I am aware this post may be met with mixed responses and emotional reactions by readers. I cannot, however, ignore this blind direction our country has chosen. On the other hand, as Christians, we can speak into the darkness and resist it by compassion in action.
May God show His compassion to Canada.
Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents entitled, Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry. Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca.