Resurrection of the dead?

I think it is cruel to bring up the stories of Jesus raising people from the dead during a funeral service.

There are many of them:

A widow’s son restored to life (LK 7:11-17)

The synagogue leader Jairus’ daughter – (MT 918-19 and 23-26. Mark 5:21-23 and 35-43, LK 8:40-42 and 49-56)

The story of Lazarus (JN 11:38-40)

And of course we can’t forget Jesus’ own resurrection (MT 28:1-8, MK 16:1-8, LK 24:1-8.)

It is part and parcel of the Christian story to talk about everlasting life and the resurrection of the dead, especially at a funeral service. Many preachers use a funeral as a not-so-veiled attempt to push this message onto a captive audience, rather than comforting them in their grief.

Sometimes the message of eternal life just sounds like magical thinking.

Perhaps the hope in the resurrection, in the body itself being restored to life, is what drives the funeral industry to preserve human bodies by pumping them full of toxic chemicals and to put them in metal coffins and then put those into concrete vaults under six feet of dirt.

We must remember that Jesus is Jewish, and Jews don’t do any of this. The Jewish way of taking care of the deceased is to ensure that the body decays naturally and returns to the earth that it came from. In Israel, bodies aren’t even put into coffins. In America, there are different laws so at a minimum a plain pine casket is used, preferably with no vault. The idea is to make it as easy for the body to return to the earth by having as few barriers as possible. Often, Jews would buy land to have their own cemetery so they would not have to use vaults.

As for me, I would not want to be resurrected only to find that I was locked into a solid metal coffin, inside a concrete liner, six feet underground. This would be beyond cruel.

If God is going to resurrect us, then why are we going to all this effort to preserve the body? This is saying that we are responsible for the miracle – not God.

God made the first human from dirt, remember? God can restore us however we are to perfect form.

Also, think of this – say everyone who has ever died comes back to life. The Earth is going to be even more overcrowded than it is.

One size (poem)

One size does not fit anybody.
Not even most.
We’ve forced ourselves into conformity
into complacency
into a mold that is not
of our own making.

We’ve shoved our feet into shoes
that don’t fit,
hobbling ourselves in the name of
getting along,
of making do,
of giving up our own power,
our own knowledge,
our own ability.

We thought by doing so that we’d have
more time
to be ourselves,
to do our own thing,
to think our own thoughts.
We thought that by giving up
everything
to the authorities,
to the experts,
to the corporations,
to the system,
that we wouldn’t have to worry
about it
about anything
anymore.
The professionals would do it for us.

Perhaps it is better said that they do it
to us.

Bigger isn’t always better.

We gave so much away.
Childbirth, daycare, school, medical care, funerals.
Our whole lives from birth to death.
Who raises our children?
Not us.
Professionals,
strangers.
Who takes care of us when we get sick, or old?
Not our family, not our friends.
Professionals,
strangers.

We stopped making our own clothes,
our own houses,
our own lives.
We gave away our power.
We stopped raising our own food.
We don’t even know what is in it,
thus we don’t even know what is in us.

We become sick,
and our sickness
is from separation
from our own selves.

Deep down,
we want the old ways back,
the community, the village, the self sufficiency.
We want to know
and be known by
the people in our lives.

We don’t have to do it all,
but we don’t have to give it all away
either.

A widow’s son restored to life

Shortly afterwards, Jesus and his disciples went to the village of Nain, accompanied by a large crowd. As he got near the gate, a funeral procession was coming out. The person who had died was the only son of a widow. A large crowd from the village was with her. Jesus felt compassion when he saw her and said to her “Don’t cry.” He went up to the bier, touched it, and the pallbearers stopped. Speaking to the dead boy, he said “Child, I tell you, get up!” Immediately the boy sat up and began to speak, and Jesus returned him to his mother.

Awe swept over the crowd, and they began to glorify God, saying “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has come to help his people.” News of what had happened spread throughout Judea and the surrounding areas.

LK 7:11-17