How do you want to Go?

My mantra for this blog has always been to Keep it REAL!  Here is a Real Fact - - - one day each and everyone of us will leave this earth and our earthly bodies!  While we sorrow over our loss at the death of a Loved One, we as Christians also rejoice knowing our loved one has gone to a heavenly home. Therefore, our mourning is mixed with hope and joy.  I am not privy to the customs of Non-Christians, therefore I am not at liberty to speak about the rituals for their dearly departed. But, I am sure there is some kind of mourning in their life also. Whenever there is a death in the family, the survivors find themselves in a dilemma as to how to handle the remains. If the wishes of the deceased are known, then there is nothing to worry about. But things can become really difficult if the decisions are to be made by the surviving members.
Just last Saturday we had a send off for my Big Sister Pat's exit from this life.  She was given to us by the Holy Father when she came into our lives (My Mom, Sisters & I) some 54 years ago. To my Mom she was her oldest child, and to us our Big Sis. She left this earth almost two weeks ago on a breezy Thursday afternoon to end her battle with cancer. Hours after her death, I went into planning mode to execute her last wishes. The total cost of her last hoopla is approximately $17,500. Nothing fancy, just a basic funeral in Florida.

It is traditional in my family circle to have a Repast after a funeral and the gathering takes a large block of time. Lots of eating, drinking, storytelling, quite a few tears, hugs & kisses with some smooth reggae on the box.  This past Saturday evening at the Repast, the most talked about item was the "high cost of these kind of celebrations".
Some discussions got a little heated among the older members based on our Jamaican Traditions. Mostly, about the desire to be funeralized back home to defray the USA costs, without understanding the additional costs attached to transport, etc. Talk about Cremation was front and center on the minds of the surviving spouse and most of the young people. But, the practicing Christians in our group have some concerns. This prompted me to write this post.

With the rising cost of funeral expenses today, many people are choosing cremation instead of burial.  Christians want to be sure the practice of cremation is biblical. Interestingly, there is no specific teaching in the Bible about cremation. Although cremation accounts can be found in the Bible, it was not common or accepted at all for Jews or early believers to be cremated. Today, traditional Jews are prohibited under the law from practicing cremation. Eastern Orthodox and some Fundamental Christian denominations do not allow cremation. The Islamic faith also forbids cremation. And, there are many Christians who object to the practice of Cremation.

Arguments for Burial

The arguments are based on the biblical concept that one day the bodies of those who have died in Christ will be resurrected and reunited with their souls and spirits. This teaching assumes that if a body has been destroyed by fire, it is impossible for it to be resurrected later and reunited with the soul and spirit:  The Apostle Paul spoke of this in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8:
"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing ... we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life ... we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord." (NLT)

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:16, NIV)

Arguments for Cremation

Most people are afraid that resurrections will not be possible because the body is no longer whole, however, even with a conventional burial, the body eventually decomposes and the body no longer exists. Consider this. . .What happens to the many Firemen who frequently burn to death in their line of duty? Just because a body has been destroyed by fire, doesn't mean God can't one day resurrect it in newness of life, to reunite it with the soul and spirit of the believer. If God could not do this, then all believers who have died in a fire are without hope of receiving their heavenly bodies.
All flesh and blood bodies eventually decay and become like dust in the earth. Cremation simply speeds the process along. God is certainly able to provide a resurrected body for those who have been cremated because HE can do all things! The heavenly body is a new, spiritual body, and not the old body of flesh and blood.
  • Cremation is less expensive than burial.
  • In certain circumstances, when family members wish to delay the memorial service, cremation allows more flexibility in scheduling a later date.
  • Allowing the body to decay in the ground is offensive to some people. A quick, clean disposal is sometimes preferred.
The idea that Burial is the only option for internment is an outdated one. Cremations have become vastly more popular in recent years; in some areas of the United States, they are more common than traditional burials. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks. Deciding which is right for You depends on your preferences and that of the deceased’s other loved ones. It can be a challenge to get a consensus in such a sensitive area, but whichever side you’re on, it’s important to know both the pros and cons of your preferred choice. Yes. . I know this is not the usual conversation we have here at MTM, but we really should have this discussion. What are your thoughts?
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