Hallelujah! Alive Forevermore! - part 2; What Burial Practices Are Appropriate to Christian Burial?

by Ted Kyle

Hallelujah

What is Christian about our modern burial customs? What is appropriate, and what is not appropriate, for an individual Christian or family?

Without wishing in any way to judge others, here is how my wife and I would answer those questions:

Inappropriate:

Anything that costs so much it places an undue financial burden on survivors.

Anything that seeks to create a sense of guilt if corners are cut to keep the costs down.

Anything that implies that the loved one's body must be preserved from returning to the dust from which it came. This includes the whole range of elaborate safeguards sold to keep the remains dry and by untouched by natural processes-though many cemeteries today require vaults to keep the grave from sinking.

Anything that correlates love and respect for the deceased with coffins that are works of art and cost thousands of dollars.

And finally, anything that implies that the individual mourned is actually in that body and that coffin. Once we die, we are either "at home with the Lord," or we are not-but in neither case, are we still in those decomposing molecules that once formed our transitory residence.

Appropriate:

Pretty much the opposite of everything in the list above.

Any means of disposal which is in good taste, legal, and reasonable.

This includes, we fully believe, cremation. We place no credence whatever in the objection occasionally heard that cremation is a) pagan, and b) therefore unChristian. Certainly, some pagans have been cremated. A

great many others were interred. Which method, then, is pagan and which Christian? The point is moot, to the point of being silly. There is no "thus saith the Lord" on the subject, and therefore no binding rule.

God does not need a physical body to resurrect us. Please give this a little thought with me: If God needed a body to match with each spirit on Resurrection Day, what would be the fate of those whose bodies were blown to bits? Or those whose remains have quite returned to dust through the passage of time? Is it possible that Adam and Eve, our first parents, would be denied resurrection bodies, while the mummified pagan pharaohs do live again? Ridiculous!