In the story of Jesus’ life and ministry, it seems as though Jesus has only recruited his disciples when he begins preparing them for his death. Not really much of a honeymoon period for these disciples. The rabbi they’ve devoted their lives to following is quickly preparing them to carry on his legacy. Jesus speaks very openly and plainly about his departure. Perhaps that’s an example we can learn from.
It’s a common scenario for too many pastors. We’re called to the Hospital ICU to meet with a grieving family – grieving not because of a death that has happened but because of the death that seems immanent. The patient, generally elderly and with a terminal illness, is being sustained by machines and tubes. There is no practical hope for earthly survival beyond the confines of a weak and comatose body in a nursing home or care facility. Adult children experience the gamut of emotions – from anger to guilt – as they consider “what mom/dad would want.”