An Evangelical Church in the Heart of Thatcham

Getting over the overture

How would you like to die at the grand old age of 146?

Mbah Gotho, a Christian man from Sragen in Central Java, has finally died. His 31st December 1870 birth date was verified last year by the local Indonesian authorities and his earliest memory is the construction of a sugar factory there in 1880! Beyond Mbah’s unbelievable longevity, one curious fact is that he has been preparing for his death for the past 22 years. One news source said “he was ready to die” and his own grandson revealed that he simply wanted his family to “let him go”.

A number of years back, I came across a woman who had suffered a crisis in pregnancy and then had a near-death experience. She recounted how she was drifting away, looking down on her own body and then heard Jesus addressing her. When she did come out of the coma, on opening her eyes she suddenly exclaimed: “Oh no! I’m still here!” I wonder how you plan to face your own death? Perhaps you appreciate a little humour to soften the idea: “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” (Woody Allen)

The apostle Paul is a little more earthy and concrete: “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Philippians 1 Verses 22 & 23)

I guess if death is termination, a full stop, then we all tend to resist getting over the overture. However, if Paul is right then we can be utterly happy that the overture is once and for all fully over.

I am the Pastor at Thatcham Evangelical Church in West Berkshire. This is an FIEC (Fellowship of Evangelical Churches) affiliated church.