Quakers are encouraged to “contemplate death . . . both their own and the death of those they are closest to.”[i] Death is to be seen as a “fact”[ii] and such an understanding is meant to set us free from fear and avoidance. Mourning and grief are not to be hidden and Quakers are led to embrace those who mourn.[iii]

Quakers have even gone so far as to say the “great object of life is to prepare for death.”[iv]

Healthy preparation for death includes healthy appreciation of aging. Quakers are encouraged to “approach old age with courage and hope.”[v]

Acknowledging that death will happen to us all and being unafraid to talk about death can severely limit us. Quakers encourage practicality in the realm of death and dying. “Do we arrange the practical matters (regarding possessions, location of documents, burial, etc.) that will arise when we die so that our families and Meeting are not unduly burdened?”[vi]  But this practicality is not at the expense of the spiritual and interpersonal. “Are we comfortable with the relationships we will leave behind when we depart?”[vii]

Quaker memorials are very much like any other Quaker worship although the vocal ministry may be inspired by the life of one whose death is being honored.

Many expressions touch up against death in order to give them added strength and meaning.  A variety of examples will follow over the next number of days. 


[i] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 30th Query and Advice

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Central Alaska Friends Conference, Advice on Death

[v] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 29th Query and Advice

[vi] Lake Erie Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Query #22

[vii] Ibid. 

Views: 376

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 27, 2017 at 10:27pm

Based on my personal experience being dead is great, dying not so much.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 4th mo. 28, 2017 at 8:19am
When I am in the conscious and conscience, the death or loss of idenitity with the physical body the resulting reflections (outward thoughts, feelings, desires, etc.) is of no consequence as consciousness is sustained in and through participation in and idenitity with me. When I am in you and you are in Christ life consciousness sustains even with the decay of the body. I am life and to own who I am is to know eternal life even in this world.
Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 28, 2017 at 1:57pm

For me it was very peaceful on the other side, although I have heard differently from another.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 29, 2017 at 1:20pm

Can't say I have any personal recollections of what it's like on "the other side". Not being a Neoplatonist I find it difficult to imagine what it would mean for anything of me to survive the death of my body. And if something did survive I'm not entirely certain that that something would be "me".

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 29, 2017 at 3:04pm

That quality of 'me-ness' is precisely what endures.

How it considers itself embodied is another issue, something I don't happen to remember, unless the experience of dreaming is relevant. In that I sometimes find I have a body (Physical? As much so as anything else there) and sometimes I'm too busy thinking to notice.

However that might be, I find myself Looked-after in my present state, and have no reason to expect not to be in whatever future condition.

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 29, 2017 at 7:36pm

I had no thought of my body.  It was just a state of pure consciousness enveloped in peace and warmth with the sound of the hospital staff's voices receding in the background as I felt what that consciousness interpreted as an upward movement.


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