With All Saints Sunday coming up it is fascinating to look at Luther’s advice when preparing to die.
“Since everyone must depart we must turn our eyes to God to whom the on the path of death leads and directs us. Here we find the beginning of the narrow gate and of the straight path of life (Matthew 7:14). All must jotfully venture forth on this path, for though the gate is quite narrow the path is not long. Just as an infant is born with peril and pain from the small abode of its mothers womb into this immense heaven and earth, that is, into this world, so a man parts this life through the narrow gate of death. And although the heavens and the earth in which went dwell at present seem large and wide to us they are nevertheless much narrower and smaller than the future heaven. Therefore the death of the dear saints is called a new birth and their feast day is known as the day of their birth. However the narrow passage of death makes us think of this as expansive and the life beyond this confined.
Therefore, we must believe this and learn a lesson from the physical birth of a child, as Christ declares, “When a women is in labor she has sorrow; but when she recovers, she no longer remembers the anguish, since a child is born by her into this world” (John 16:21). So it is that in dying we must bear all this anguish and know that a large mansion and joy will follow (John 4;2).”