Jesus appeared to John (the Gospel writer) a week before his death, telling him of his imminent demise and blessing him. The image below illustrates the sacred medieval legend.
A week later John asked his followers to dig a grave for him. When it was completed, he got into it and was bathed with heavenly light as he was dying.
The story doesn’t say, but don’t you wonder what he did to prepare himself?
God, help me to live as though I am going to die. Help me to die, when the time goes, having lived. Thank You, Jill
Invitation to Prayer:
What communication from God would help you accept that you are going to die? (Let’s face it, we all live in denial of this basic truth.) What assurance would give you the courage to live more fully? Let God know your fears, hopes, and needs in any way that makes sense–with words, images, gestures, or some other means of expression.
God cares! Take comfort from the image below, rest in the hope it offers.
I consider the days of old, and remember the years of long ago. I commune with my heart in the night; I meditate and search my spirit… Psalm 77:13-14 NRSV
These images of John talking with Jesus and in his sarcaphogus are found towards the top of the John the Evangelist stained glass window at Chartres Cathedral in France (1205-15).
To Understand the Image Better
Jesus preparing John for his death
John in his sarcophagus
Other Posts in this Series
Life and Death
Talking about Death
Hanging On Before Letting Go
Considering Our Lives
Possibilities in Times of Grief
Your prayer touched a chord in me. When it comes time for me to die, I want to feel as if I have truly lived. Thank you. I also appreciate your questions for reflection. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to move fully into the life that I feel called to, because I want to hold on to so many false (or inferior) ideas of what life is, as if all that matters is what I want to experience now, in the moment. On the other hand, I don’t want to live in the future and miss the simple joys that come from living life fully in the moment. Ah, the tension! Thank you for your stunning photos, especially of the light coming down on John as he sits up in his coffin. Very powerful and moving.
I have been touched by death many times — widowed twice, diagnosed with several life threatening conditions, and on and on. God helped me use these experiences (as a therapist) to travel deeply with clients and accompanying them as they walked the path toward death. As I face my death these meditations on Chartres’ windows have enriched and comforted me by taking me deeper into meditations on my death.
I am delighted with your use of the Chartres windows. I was there 3 times (in the Veriditas retreats — you and I were there at the same time one year) and the Chartres visits were life changing for me. But I did not see the windows involving the depth of reflection on death and life as you have highlighted. Thank you.
I am saddened to hear of your accident and subsequent struggles. May you continue to experience powerful healing and awakening.