Sunday, May 7, 2017

In the face of death

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - I feel badly when I hear that no funeral will be held for someone deceased. If it is because that person made the family promise this, I think that’s a selfish wish. Funerals are for the support of those left behind.

If it is because the family decided there would be no funeral on their own, I wonder if they talked with someone experienced in these matters to be sure their decision doesn’t haunt them for the rest of their life.

When traditions have evolved over hundreds (or even thousands) of years, versions of those traditions are usually there for a reason. Rituals at the time of death reveal something of life’s meaning.

One woman, whose son died after a difficult life and six months in a coma, wisely advised his estranged wife “we need to put a period to what we’ve gone through!” For the sake of the children, his loved ones and ourselves we gathered to name the hard times, recall special memories, give thanks for the support of the community, and acknowledge trust in a God whose care is eternal. That said, each of us were able to start to move toward a new day.

In rural communities, where our lives touch each other in ways we may not realize, when we see a name on the board in the Post office, we stop to remember. Memories about that person come to the surface. The way we treat death is a reminder of the value we place on our own lives. “It God so cares for the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, won’t God be all the more sure to care for you?”

Funeral remembrances, today, are expressed in in a great variety of ways. It is with dignity that we acknowledge this one life, this death, and what lies beyond death. As we have done for others, so may this blessing be given to us.

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