As the VAD legislation passed there were scenes of jubilation in the Parliament. Christians will see, again, the growing gap between biblical convictions about life and death and the views of many Australians. Where we mourn the further promotion of a culture that devalues human life, legislators from all political parties celebrated what they saw as an extension of a basic human right.
One good outcome of the debate was the attention given to improved palliative care. The Premier has again spoken about the government’s commitment to improving their services
The introduction of VAD highlights the need for churches to show the Christian view of death and dying. Death, and even the prospect of a painful death, is changed by the light of the gospel. We need to teach that difference and show it. More than ever we will need to have clear teaching and support for Christians facing decisions about end of life care.
First and foremost, Christians can pray for our society and our leaders. Here is a prayer that you might like to use.
We acknowledge that you — and not us — are in control. We acknowledge that you — and not any political party or policy — determine the course of history and the state of our nation. Given this, we bring to you our grief and confusion about the introduction of Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia.
We lament the attitudes about life and death that this Bill represents. So many of our neighbours do not know the true worth of their life. They do not know the freedom that comes from surrendering our days to you, our wise Creator and Saviour nor the hope of everlasting life — where there will be no pain or suffering.
We also grieve for those vulnerable people who may be harmed by this bill. We confess that we are anxious about injustice and misuse of power. Lord of mercy, who protects the weak, we ask that you shield those who are made vulnerable by this law.
We pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who now face difficult decisions and competing priorities. We pray for those who work in medical professions or positions of care. We ask that you give them great wisdom, peace and courage. We ask that you would give us, as your Church, that same wisdom, courage and peace. Help us to walk, speak and think well in the wake of this bill. Protect us from acting out of anxiety or unrighteous anger. Help us to respond as you would have us do.
Redeemer God, we know that death is the ‘last enemy’. The shadow of death hangs over us, and we long for the day of the New Creation. Thank you that victory over the grave is secure in Jesus. Remind us of that today, by the ministry of your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name we pray together, Amen.