When Jesus is laid to rest, it is in a tomb provided for him…not one purchased or prepared for him. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body and placed Jesus in a new tomb. This was a huge gift for the disciples who followed and loved Jesus.
Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy. I used to wonder about this because it is of course the natural thing to do. But is it?
When I worked in a pediatric hospital, I fell in love with Johnny, a two year old with cancer. In the mornings he would be at the elevator waiting for my arrival. He followed me around trying to help in whatever way he could.
So, when he died, I really wanted to attend his funeral. I watched for the death notice in the paper but it wasn’t there. I called the funeral home and they said they weren’t ready yet. Over a month went by and I was confounded.
Then someone told me that when people are too poor for the funeral, some funeral homes just store the body until the family can come up with the money. I was shocked. It never occurred to me that if a family is struggling with house payments, food, hospital bills, and several other children, it makes perfect sense that they would not have money for a funeral.
And yet, Johnny’s mom wanted a funeral and couldn’t reconcile him being buried without one. That is, however, exactly what happened in the end.
In this day and age it’s difficult to imagine that, like Jesus, there is a need for someone to step up to the challenge of providing a final resting place for the deceased. Many cemeteries have plots or sections specifically for those whose families are unable to pay for the burial.
Some mortuaries also make provisions for those unable to pay. It is important for us to remember, however that this isn’t always the case. There are still people like Johnny waiting for his funeral and families grieving not only the loss of their loved one but also their inability to honor the deceased with a funeral or cemetery plot. I am grateful there are some people out there aware of these needs but I wonder what my role could be.Read More