THERE ARE IN FACT two questions here.

All of us have some apprehension about the act of dying. Will it be painful ? Shall I lose my reason ? Shall I be alone ? These are reasonable fears and part of the human condition, without which we should not be real feeling human beings. And sometimes the very fact that we face these problems helps us to take measures to overcome them or at least make them easier to face.

That is why, for example, many wise people move into sheltered accommodation while they are still and well and able to do so. This means that there is a warden on call and we need never be completely alone without someone ready to help us it we need it.

But the other question concerns the fact of what lies beyond death.

This has always been a concern to thinking human beings even though in the past century or so there have been some who have been happy to die with no hope of any thing beyond the grave. It seems to me that our attitude to death is very much affected by whether we feel that death is a dark and fearsome thing or, on the other hand, the entry into a state of joy and light joy and light which is beyond our imaginings.

Jesus said “He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall. he live” (John 11: 25). That is a promise; and Jesus keeps his promises. Therefore we know that, when we die, we shall enter into a new and fuller life with Him. That is the destiny of every true Christian.

When that happens is the subject of speculation. All that the Bible says is that the dead “sleep”. -whether this means that the moment of death and the moment of the Second Coming are the same, we do not know, but it may be so because we go out of time (presumably) when we die.

Certainly I Thessalonians makes it clear that we shall all rise together and Chapter 4 vv. 13–18 repays careful reading. it ends: “Comfort one another with these words”.

John Pearce, is Rector of Limehouse in the diocese of London