Former President Jimmy Carter taught a Bible lesson on life after death Sunday, less than two weeks after breaking his pelvis in a fall.
Using a walker, the 95-year-old Democrat slowly entered the crowded sanctuary at Maranatha Baptist Church in the southwest Georgia town of Plains.
‘Morning, everybody,’ he said cheerfully.
With help, Carter sat on a motorized lift chair at the front of the room to teach a 45-minute lesson based on the Old Testament book of Job.
Referring to a cancer diagnosis that resulted in the removal of part of his liver in 2015, Carter said he was is ‘at ease’ with the idea of dying and believes in life after death.
More than 400 people were on hand in the main hall and smaller, overflow rooms where the lesson was shown on television.
Carter was briefly hospitalized and has since been recovering at home since fracturing his pelvis on October 21. He also fell shortly before that and needed stitches above his left eye.
Carter is the oldest U.S. ex-President ever and has been teaching Bible lessons since he was in his teens. He missed one Sunday school class after the pelvis fracture.
Rev. Tony Lowden said Secret Service agents, relatives and fellow church members all discouraged Carter from teaching because of the injury, but he insisted.
‘He is pouring out that you might see Christ while he is suffering,’ Lowden told the crowd.
Carter remained for the worship service after teaching, sitting in a pew beside his wife, Rosalynn, and singing hymns with the congregation.
Referring to the former president and Jesus Christ by their initials, Lowden gave thanks for Carter in prayer.
‘The greatest thing I’ve learned as a pastor here is watching J.C. follow J.C.,’ Lowden said.
Carter said Sunday: ‘I assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly,’ he said of his 2015 cancer diagnosis. ‘I obviously prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I 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. Except I was going to miss my family, and miss the work at the Carter Center and miss teaching your Sunday school service sometimes and so forth. All those delightful things,’ he said.
‘I said a prayer about it I didn’t ask God to let me live, I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death,’ he added.
Just last week, the 95-year-old suffered a ‘minor pelvic fracture’ following the incident at his home in Plains.
Carter, who is the nation’s oldest living president, was admitted to the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for treatment.
It was the second fall Carter has had this month.
The first accident on October 6 left Carter with 14 stitches above his brow and bruising around his left eye.
Despite that, he still showed up to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity the next day in Nashville, Tennessee.
He used a cane when he rallied volunteers that morning.
He told the crowd of volunteers that despite going to hospital, ‘I had a number one priority and that was to come to Nashville and build houses’.
He survived a dire cancer diagnosis in 2015 and surpassed George H.W. Bush as the longest-lived U.S. president in history this spring.
Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, also broke his hip back in May after falling in his home.