The Revd Dr Martyn Atkins
Harold Shipman was found dead ten years ago today. His heinous crimes live long in our corporate memory. There is something especially shocking about a medical doctor abusing trust and power, and being found guilty of murdering his patients <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
We’re all clear that ending life against a person’s will is terribly wrong.
We’re less clear in terms of our responses to those among us who suffer from simply awful and incurable conditions, some of whom are currently seeking the legal right to end their own lives. Not surprising; it’s a complicated, profound and emotive topic. Many of us feel the power of the pleas of those who urge ways enable their life to end lawfully. Many of us shudder when we think of the potential ramifications of any such legislation. Some of us know those who faithfully and lovingly nursed loved ones through long and terrible illnesses know there is no single opinion among them about assisted suicide and the like.
Christianity, like all major Faiths, holds life as sacred. It is a gift of God, precious and profound, and for Christians particularly, a gift given in creation and re-made through the self sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
So today, aware of both those whose lives have been destroyed by murder, and the test cases of suffering ones to be heard in coming weeks, may we all ponder deeply and seek God’s wisdom.
Lord, we pray for all those who suffer because loved ones have been brutally taken away from them for whatever reason, and also for those who desire that their own life should end; those who care for them: and those charged with finding wise ways forward to some of the deep questions of life and death. Amen.