Years ago, I was in the hospital room when a beloved parishioner was disconnected from the machines that were keeping her alive. I prayed at the bedside with her family, anointed her with oil, then stepped back to the corner of the room, trying to be both present and unobtrusive during those sacred last moments of life.
The mood in the room was somber, filled with tears and hushed voices. So I was a bit disconcerted when a man I didn’t know came up to me and heartily introduced himself as a cousin of the dying woman.
“Are you the preacher?” he asked.
I nodded yes.
“Does your church believe in the Bible?” he demanded to know.
I was both stunned and offended at the question. Out of respect for the circumstances, I quietly assured him we did indeed, then quickly stepped away to speak to someone else.