Thursday, April 10, 2014

Celebration of Life?

This past Sunday there were so many homiletical roads which could have been travelled with the Dry Bones passage from Ezekiel and the Raising of Lazarus reading from John. I decided on John 11 as a dress rehearsal for Holy Week and Easter, and I focused on how we deal with death and our resurrection hope.

A retired funeral director chatted with me after worship about comments I made concerning our death-denying culture. He was in the business for sixty years and experienced the shift from an acknowledgment of death's reality and the general conviction of a life beyond death to the practices of the present day. He feels that the pervasive Celebration of Life theme in services today can emphasize the person's activities and accomplishments and personality, but doesn't do much to help people deal with death. Nor does it affirm the hope of life to come. We agreed that often the tributes or eulogies of those who speak at many services come across like speeches at a retirement party rather than naming the grief and promise of the moment.

I really appreciated his observations, as I so often have benefitted from the wisdom and experience of funeral directors who have been around for a while. Many of them are Christians as well as professionals in the funeral business.

What do you think about his comments? I wrote about eulogies recently. Is it important to you that the funerals and memorials you attend acknowledge death and resurrection hope?

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