Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Before and After Death

"This somber series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying - and living."

Before and After Death

I have spent the last 30 minutes looking at the faces in this Guardian piece. I am always drawn to this type of photography and this particular subject matter. Not because I am fascinated by death but probably because I worked (many years ago) as an Oncology nurse and have a heart for that particular work. The pictures are haunting and beautiful in their own way but the stories are so incredibly sad. Not because all of these people have died but because in not one of the little vignettes that go with the pictures did any of them express any knowledge of Christ and his saving work for them. The ending thoughts seemed, for the most part to be hopeless and frustrated at the end of a life. How heatbreaking.

Death itself is always heartbreaking for someone, family members, friends. But I can tell you with certainty, having seen the deaths of Christians and non-Christians that those who had a saving knowledge of Him and knew what awaited them went, not necessarily with joy but without fear. Those who had no hope, those who struggled to hold on even when all hope was gone, those who feared death and what might be waiting afterwards (if they even thought there was something afterwards) struggled in death as well. It was a sobering thing to witness and participate in.


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