When Mary Van De Berg, the â€śmeat ladyâ€ť of Sioux Center, Iowa, died at age 72 a week before Memorial Day, 250 people in the city of 7,400 came to her funeral. Among the crowd sat about 35 of her co-workers from the closed-for-the-day Fareway supermarket, where for 26 years she had a reputation for knowing everything there is to know about meat.
Van De Bergâ€™s kind of funeralâ€”a church service, a viewing attended by more than 300 neighbors, burial in a local cemeteryâ€”is becoming unusual in American life. Funeral homes are consolidating under financial pressure due partly to changing attitudes about cremation: In 2016 U.S. cremations outnumbered burials for the first time. Meanwhile, families are scattering, religious affiliations are fraying, and attitudes toward death are changing. Some laud such changes, but has something been lost in our drive toward independence and economic efficiency?...
Good to hear from you, John. Thinking of the Lord's table today about how we take the bread in remembrance of the *body* of Christ, brought to my mind again the fact that Jesus could not had been icinerated, or the symbolism might have been obliterated.
".. he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Luke 22 " while they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body." Matt 14
Just a detail
However, there is a sense of godliness in the line you have newly approved. God bless
B. McCausland wrote: John, not wishing to impose any personal opinion about the topic on you or any body, but today reading through Jude this verse has made me ponder: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" One wonders why was Satan so interested in obtaining Moses' body? Something to think about !? Regards
Yes it is a good point and I'm glad you mentioned it, in the providence of God. This day I have made a decision not to be cremated, and am shortly to visit a funeral director to see about a pre-payed plan for burial in the ground. A Christian friend today mentioned to me that there are no cremations in the Bible for the godly, and I believe he is right. So I have changed my mind (repented) and hope to do the right thing according to the Lord. And your text adds grist to the mill. I think that's the right expression. Thank you, sister. And God bless.
I visited Key West, Florida, once, and the cemetery had the graves on top of the ground. They said the water table is very high--if you dig a hole, within 2 feet you will have water. Same thing with old cemeteries where blacks are buried in Miami--in fact, you can do spot them from an aerial photo online.
I remember in the Mid-Atlantic area that cemeteries were connected with local churches, especially Episcopalian.
Sweden--looks like it is officially a Lutheran country, until recently, but not as connected as Great Britain where the Prime Minister names the head of the Anglican church.
I think the previous discussion on 'legislating morality' could have benefited from the study of what happened in Nordic countries like Sweden where only one church was supported by the government.
Cremation--I have read that the entire body is not converted to ashes, but the larger bones remain as fragments. What should we do with them? Many choose to have them dispersed in the sea.
Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead where the people gather around the graves of their loved ones; some say that makes them feel more connected to those who have left. In the US, they would say, we try to avoid any discussion of death, and even less, anything having to do with cemeteries.
B. McCausland wrote: Actually, in some cultures burial occurs in up off the ground blocks of 'flats' like structures, made of rows of small cubicles built up one on top the other to three or four stores high instead of ground internment.
Hey that's cool. I think in Hong Kong, apartments like that might run to ÂŁ150,000 each. I'm guessing, but maybe they do sea burials there, as there is plenty of room in the ocean.
John UK wrote: True. And it would be easier to be pragmatic rather than principled somewhere like Hong Kong, where population density is so thick, it would be hard to find somewhere to build another cemetery to keep up with demand.
Actually, in some cultures burial occurs in up off the ground blocks of 'flats' like structures, made of rows of small cubicles built up one on top the other to three or four stores high instead of ground internment.
B. McCausland wrote: Pragmatism above principle is common nowadays
True. And it would be easier to be pragmatic rather than principled somewhere like Hong Kong, where population density is so thick, it would be hard to find somewhere to build another cemetery to keep up with demand.
Counter from Bible Pres. wrote: --- Why We Should Not Cremate 1 In the Scriptures, in some cases non-burial is a mark of Godâ€™s judgment and curse, eg the disposal by burning of Achan and his family (Josh 7:24-25), of harlots (Gen 38:24; Lev 21:9) and the disposal of Jezebel (2 Kgs 9:10,34), of King Jehoiakim (Jer 22:19). 2 Christians are reminded to glorify the Lord by life or by death and that "whether we live or die, we are the Lordâ€™s" (Rom 14:8). http://www.wholesomewords.org/resources/crematsp.html
Stretching to fit. Bad guys were buried at least as often as good guys. It isn't the burial that glorifies God in death, but dying for him.
1 Christians are to love their own bodies (Eph 5:28), even at death, the corpse is not to be lightly disposed of, having been associated with the soul of a departed loved one. Godâ€™s judgment upon Adam was that at death, Adam should return to the ground: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen 3:19). 2 The patriarchs and their spouses were buried, viz. Abraham (Gen 25:9), Sarah (Gen 23:19), Isaac (Gen 35:29), Rebekah (Gen 49:31), Jacob (Gen 50:5-7,13), Leah (Gen 49:31), Rachel (Gen 35:19-20) and Joseph (Josh 24:33). 3 Our Lord Jesus was laid in a tomb and buried (Matt 27:60; 1 Cor 15:4). 4 Burial of the believer at death is compared to being "sown in corruption" (1 Cor 15:42,44). This exemplifies faith and hope of the resurrection.
Why We Should Not Cremate
1 In the Scriptures, in some cases non-burial is a mark of Godâ€™s judgment and curse, eg the disposal by burning of Achan and his family (Josh 7:24-25), of harlots (Gen 38:24; Lev 21:9) and the disposal of Jezebel (2 Kgs 9:10,34), of King Jehoiakim (Jer 22:19). 2 Christians are reminded to glorify the Lord by life or by death and that "whether we live or die, we are the Lordâ€™s" (Rom 14:8). http://www.wholesomewords.org/resources/crematsp.html
Though I believe this is a matter of conscience for an individual Christian, and it is not a salvation issue, I would have some reservations about cremation.
The pastor who baptised me as a believer, many years ago when I was a student, a Reformed Independant Evangelical pastor, Pastor Malcolm Watts of Emmanuel Church, Salisbury, Wilts, England, who is still pastoring the same church some 40 years later, wrote a booklet, on this subject.
He expounded the biblical case for burial and against cremation.
My main problem with cremation is simply that it is practiced by most pagan cultures (with the notable exception of Muslims and rabbinical non-Messianic Jews), and also that it has now, it seems, become politically correct for Christians to use that method.
penned wrote: --- probably some of this is the draconian laws for burial.... which keeps the traditional concept of family land and family burial off the table.
True. Around here at least, it is illegal to be buried on your own property. You must go through an approved process whether cremation or burial, and if buried, it must be in an officially approved cemetery. Thus the groundwork is laid for overcharging for the "service" rendered, to folks who are stressed to begin with. The state and the undertakers then pat each other on the back for being sensitive to the needs of the bereaved.
What if you were buried alive? I did ask this to a Jewish person who professionally buries people, and she said with modern technology it can never happen. Maybe they can check for signs of brain activity.
Thanks to all for your comments, they are all helpful.
When I visited a crematorium recently, and observed the whole process, I was reminded of the following scriptures, when I handled a cremated person in a stainless steel container. There were six others on a shelf awaiting burial in the garden.
Genesis 3:19 KJV (19)Â In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Psalms 104:29 KJV (29)Â Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV (7)Â Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
I do suspect that Adam and Eve and their children would not be recognisable as "bodies" now, rather just a handful of earth, as in dust of the earth. That is what Adam was made from, and he is now returned to it.
John Piper, in his article, mentioned that cremation merely speeded up the process, and that this is why some believers are happy to be cremated and buried.