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Ashes, Ashes we all fall down… but never stop preaching the Gospel

03 Feb

No, I’m not talking about the act of converting a solid into a cream; I’m talking about burning the body after the soul has left it. What are your views on cremation? Have you ever thought of it? Some people may say, “What’s the big deal? I mean who really cares anyway? When you’re dead, you’re dead!”

If you would rather opt for that route, then that’s fine. I’m wired to ask myself questions like, “What do you think about cremation, Daniel? If you were a pastor and someone asked you your opinion as they were making out their will, what would you tell them?” You think I’m crazy? That makes three of us! =)

Okay, back to the topic at hand. I’ll give you my thoughts, and hopefully you won’t disappoint me by not giving me yours.

I do not think if one chooses to be cremated that they have committed an abomination. To my knowledge the Scriptures do not condemn cremation as such. But I am against it for this reason – it does not declare the Christian’s hope of the resurrection. Burying the body eastward and face up all speak to the hope of the deceased being reunited with his/her body at the resurrection. To destroy the body via cremation, in my opinion, screams that the deceased is not looking forward to a bodily resurrection. I realize that God can just as easily piece a body back together from ashes that have been strewn in the Pacific as he can resurrect Lazarus from the grave. Let’s be honest, bringing a dead man back to life is no small task, but God is the Creator of all matter and the Giver of life. It is nothing for the Creator of all things to restore something He created ex nihilo; so I don’t believe for one moment that cremation destroys the body beyond God’s ability to restore it. I also realize there are people who died over five thousand years ago that are no longer in the grave where their loved ones laid them. The bodies have decomposed beyond that of ashes made in a crematorium. Decomposition happens and I’m not so foolish to think that everyone’s body is completely preserved in the coffin just as it was the day they died.

It is not about decomposition or the most economically savvy funeral. For me, it is about not only preaching the gospel with your last breath, but boldly preaching it after you have expelled that final breath. Cremation doesn’t display the hope we have in Jesus Who is the First born of the new creation, the Resurrection and the Life brought from the future into present history. But burying the body in a respectable way, facing East in anticipation of the bodily return of Jesus Christ – this makes it quite plain. I would say, if you believe in the resurrection then preach it from the grave.

What are your thoughts? Even if you think cremation is the way to go, I won’t call you pagan…. promise!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2011 in Christian Life

 

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3 responses to “Ashes, Ashes we all fall down… but never stop preaching the Gospel

  1. Ben Harper

    February 3, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Thanks for posting Daniel. I had never really given it much thought until my father recently joked (I think…) that he wanted to be cremated and put in a mason jar and passed around between all of his kids from year to year. Guess you’d have to know him for this to make sense…or maybe not. Anyway, thanks for the post. Makes me think.

     
  2. heather joy

    February 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I know my pastor has a pretty strong opinion on the matter, but I can’t remember exactly what it is or what Scripture he references when he talks about it. If he mentions it again in the near future, I’ll update here.

    Just a couple things to think about:
    Most of the references to cremation/the burning of a body in the Bible are due to:
    1. Punishment for criminal acts,
    2. Punishment for improper behavior,
    3. Killings by Pagans,
    4. Destruction of idols and evil material, and
    5. Once (almost) as a sacrifice to God (Abraham and Issac).

    I really don’t have an opinion on the matter for myself at this point. I haven’t studied it enough for myself to be able to formulate an opinion.

    I have had family members who chose this route, and I know they were Christians. As for myself, I’m going to be dead so I won’t really care if I’m in a “cold, dark place” (the grave) or “blowing in the wind” (cremated). I’ll bein the presence of Jesus Christ, and that is all I will care about at that point. All else is trivial.

    But my will would be the burial route, not cremation.

     
  3. Kim's Life in Random Wordy Stories

    February 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Okay, before I actually settle in for the night or do some more hw..whatever floats my boat as the saying goes or butters my bread or paddles my canoe, I will give you my explanation on your cremation blog post.
    Over the summer I read this novel of an author I actually enjoy. It was a departure from the only other novel I’ve read of hers. The title of the book is, My Name is Memory. It is about this man whose personality or essence, if you will, has been reincarnated into different bodies over a span of time. He remembers each and every time which unlike any person who doesn’t recall their past lives. Now, stay with me here. 🙂 He recognizes different essences or souls from different lives he’s lived, good and bad. He also knows the soul of the one true love of his life. This soul or essence has been reincarnated into different bodies in different centuries. Sometimes they encounter each other and know each other, fall back in love, or sometimes they miss each other. But that’s where my description of the book ends.
    What I feel is that, when you go to cremate a body, you’re only burning the host or body of that persons soul. Sure, what we know of that person–their hair color, their mannerisms, their looks, their body time, what their favorite foods, colors, music, and so forth are we can see when we picture the person. But in reality, this is all attributed to their souls, their personalities. We are really only souls inhabiting the bodies that God gave us. Sure, we have to treat these hosts, bodies well. However, when it comes to cremation, sure it is the cheaper way to go and there goes what most of us think of when we go to visit a grave site–the body. But really, after so much time, our bodies decompose and become one with the earth again & the cycle is repeated.
    Whether a loved one of a loved one who has passed chooses to cremate the body or set them in the ground, what they will end up remembering in fond memories or not so good memories, will be their loved ones personalities, the smiles on their faces, the times they shared…not the actual physical shell.

     

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