But during a sermon at Maranatha Baptist Church on Sunday, from a motorized lift chair before a congregation of 400 people, Carter said he has been “at ease with death” for years, CBS News reported.
Carter has been teaching at church since his teens, according to the Associated Press, and he refused to miss another Sunday school lesson because of his health. The Rev. Tony Lowden said Secret Service agents, friends and fellow churchgoers encouraged the ex-president to refrain from teaching after his pelvic fracture, which came two weeks after the former president fell and required stitches on his forehead.
“He is pouring out that you might see Christ while he is suffering,” Lowden told the crowded church, according to the AP.
During his lesson, Carter cited his history of health issues as the source of his philosophy on death. In August 2015, he announced he had melanoma — which eventually spread to his brain. Carter said he “assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly.”
“I, obviously, prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I just asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death. It didn’t really matter to me whether I died or lived,” Carter said, according to the church’s Facebook Live video of his sermon. “I have, since that time, been absolutely confident that my Christian faith includes complete confidence in life after death.
“So, I’m going to live again after I die. Don’t know what form I’ll take, or anything.”
In recent years, Carter has achieved several presidential milestones. He joined George H.W. Bush as the only other president to reach age 94. In March, at 94 years and 172 days, he became the nation’s longest-living former president.
At church on Sunday, Carter sat with the former first lady after his sermon, singing hymns.