Shepherding in the Shadow of Death

Pastors wield the shepherd's staff in full view of the grim reaper's blade.
—Greg Asimakoupoulos

In many ways our local hospital resembles my church. In both, people are in various stages of recovery. And in both, people are in various stages of dying.

I thought about this as I watched a PBS documentary about Mother Teresa's ministry. Her call to Calcutta and my call to Concord have a common focus. We both work with those who won't get well. Clergy of all colors and collars have the privilege of shepherding people through the valley of death's shadow.

Such ministry is awesome—in both senses of the word. It is serious and intimidating business. How do we wield the shepherd's staff in full view of the grim reaper's blade? What are the most meaningful things we can do for the dying? How can we sincerely say, "I care"? How can we make our visits more personal? What do we say if we are unsure of a person's relationship with God?

Little Things That Say I Care


In my first year out of seminary, six ...

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