letters to surfers

Question : What do you think about cremation as opposed to burial in a cemetery?
by Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca)

I have changed my mind about this, and I now emphasize the huge changed that occured immediately Jesus died. His first act was to call out the Old Testament believers from the abode of the dead and empty sheol (Hades - wrongly translated "hell" in older translations of the Apostles' Creed) of its contents for ever. "The hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his (my) voice and will come out to the resurrection of life" (John 5:24-29, see Ephesians 4:9, 1 Peter 3:18-19). The evidence of this is that even while his corpse was still hanging on the cross: "The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised , they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many" (Matthew 27:52-53). The Messiah did not want his earthly body to remain in a tomb to be venerated. So before appearing to his disciples on Easter day he came and disintegrated the body he had left behind (the grave clothes just fell to the ground, John 20:5-6).

It now seems to me that the Old Testament practice of burial symbolized the hope of being raised from sheol, Hades. But now there is no religious significance to a burial service. In the instructions I have left with my family I want my body to be taken straight from the hospital morgue to the crematorium - no need of embalming, or a coffin, pall bearers and funeral procession, or any kind of tomb stone, and I don't want my ashes put in an urn and buried. What I want people to know is that I have gone to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-8), and that can be celebrated in a memorial service. Death is not going into cold storage to await a resurrection some time in the future, nor do I like the term "resting." I don't want to lie doing nothing for ever, but rather I expect to be having a wonderful time in the heaven that Jesus has prepared for me.

model theology home | essays and articles | books | sermons | letters to surfers | comments