Wednesday, December 05, 2018

A humanist funeral

Yesterday we attended the funeral of my wife's cousin's wife. A packed crematorium in Basingstoke. Standing room only. A long ceremony. Over an hour with moving tributes and overt emotion. She was a lady I did not know but I learned she was a loving, faithful mother and wife who formed close and lasting friendships with several female friends. The tributes were impressive and moving.
   But we were led by a woman who identified herself as a funeral celebrant. Why could not a humanist come clean. This was a humanist funeral with no reference to God except when a RC friend quoted the 23rd Psalm. The deceased had no religious commitment but we were told she was deeply spatial and believed in angels. Yes, man cannot live as a consistent materialist/humanust.
   This was my second humanist family funeral. The first was IIRC on a cold winter's day and I found the ceremony had all the warmth of an empty grate. I have found these funerals an unwitting testimony to Christian truth or at least to the comfort it brings.
   At a humanistic or atheist ceremony all one an do is look back with gratitude for past good memories. But who to thank?
   'Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts: and no one to thank. '-- Christina Rossetti.
   Good to have good memories but where is the comfort there when there is no future hope. A traditional RC funeral has some hope but no certainty for assurance of salvation is foreign to Roman Catholicism.
   But the Book of Common Prayer gives burial 'in sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead'. This is sure gospel hope. Christ is risen. All who die in Him will share in his resurrection. Bliss is in store. We shall be reunited.
   I love Christian funerals.My instructions are on record for mine. 'Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son. Endless is the victory, tour o'er death hast won'. That will be sung at my graveside.

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