Your own experience with death …
- Have friends or close members of your family died?
- What impact did that have on your life?
- How did you process that with God? Did it change your relationship with God?
- Did you have people around you who helped you through the mourning?
- What was most helpful for you at that time?
Walking with others during grief…
- Have you been there for others during their grief?
- Does you job involve helping people deal with death? How do you relate with God about that?
- What has been the most helpful in you learning to be helpful for people?
If you work in healthcare …
- Do you work in healthcare – even if that’s in administration or cleaning?
- What difference does dealing with people’s suffering and death make to you?
- To what extent are you able to empathise with them, and to what extent do you have to guard yourself?
- How do you relate with God about that?
- Is the experience something you’re able to share with your church small group?
If you work in the military…
- Do you work in the military?
- How do you relate with God about death?
- How does the death of opposing forces affect you?
- How does the death of colleagues affect you?
- How do you deal with the level of danger that your work exposes you to? Is that something you’re able to share with your church small group? When you’re deployed, are you able to process through that with colleagues, or your chaplain?
Reflecting on mortality …
- Whatever your work, as you think about death, how does that affect what you want to achieve in your life?
Read Genesis 2 and 3. To what extent do you think death is natural, and to what extent do you think it’s unnatural? As you experience death in the world, do you feel that tension? How does that affect how you relate with God?
Genesis – The Patriarchs
There are very poignant descriptions of death and burial in Genesis.
- Genesis 23. Why was it important for Abraham to buy the field that Sarah was buried in, rather than just receiving it as a gift?
- You can read about Abraham’s death in Genesis 25:5-11, and Isaac’s death in Genesis 35:27-29. Notice how in both case family tensions don’t stop children from coming together to bury their father. If you’ve experienced death in your family, how did your family respond? Did it bring people together? Did bring tensions to the surface?
- You can read about Jacob’s death at the end of Genesis 49. From Genesis 47:27-49:27 we read about Jacob blessing his children. As you consider your mortality, how do you want to bless people in your life? What would it mean to speak words of blessing to people in the 21st Century? What impact do you want your life to have upon people?
Managing the fear of death
In Daniel 3 we read about Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They remained faithful to God, even though it could have cost them their lives. In Mark 6:14-28 we read how John the Baptist remained faithful to God, and it did cost him his life. Does the fear of death change how you live? Do you encounter a cost for following God? Are there limits to the cost you’d pay to remain faithful? If death is a significant fear for you, spend some time praying about it with friends from church, or perhaps your pastor. Ask God for peace, courage and wisdom.
Resurrection is spoken about several times in the New Testament, perhaps most memorably by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. When you think about death, do you think about the death and resurrection of Jesus? Do you think about our resurrection? What difference does that make to your experience of death? Through time, do you find that your experience moves from grief to hope in some measure?