Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cremation - An Appropriate Choice for Christians

Yesterday, someone announced to me that while their parents had opted for cremation when the time comes, that person (their adult child) was not as comfortable with the idea.  My response was, "While it is not everyone’s choice, it is both appropriate and accepted in Christian practice."

Our Memorial Garden at Wekiva Presbyterian Church provides a place for those who love this church and have a sense of closeness to it, which they would like to preserve even after death.  It is also conceived as a place for members and guests to find a lovely, peaceful retreat for reflection and prayer. 

Also utilized from time to time as a place of congregational fellowship, it is primarily a dignified and beautiful place of peace and serenity on our church campus.

The Courtyard Memorial and Meditation Garden serves as a spiritually appropriate place on our church campus for the internment of ashes from cremation. Ashes are placed directly into the soil, so that they mingle with the earth and become a part of the living garden. Such a garden is ecologically responsible ("green"), as well as an answer in part to the age-old concern of the Christian community to participate in the proper disposition and identification of the earthly remains of those who have shared in Christian fellowship here.

I find that when I pause to look at the plaque in the Garden, that these dear people who have entered the Church Triumphant come immediately to mind.   You may see names here that are dear to you, as well.   I find myself giving thanks to God for them, and also praying for their loved ones who are missing them for now, but who also have deep in their hearts the firm conviction that they shall all stand together before  God, in God's good timing.

The Garden is always alive, and today a gorgeous blue damselfly danced with me around the fountain.  She was much too quick and careful to be caught in a photograph but she lightened my heart nonetheless.  All God's humble and lovely creatures have a way of making us stop and give thanks, don't they?

Christians sometimes have questions about cremation, which is an acceleration of natural processes, generally believed to be consistent with the belief in resurrection and eternal life.  Christians who love their church, who care about the world, and who are not afraid of what eternity may hold, can feel confident when they make cremation their faithful choice.  

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