Posted by George Morrison

“What strikes me when I come back here is that someone is always going to a funeral.” The community aspect of funerals was highlighted in the comment made by someone returning from the UK for Cemetery Sunday. The cohesion of the community at funerals reflects respect for the dead and sorrow and support for the family. Cemetery Sunday provides an opportunity to renew these sentiments, strengthen family ties and renew the link with the past. Other cultures mark the right of passage in different ways. A Chinese friend, who had cared for his elderly father during his terminal illness, had a problem when it came to the burial. Ancestral worship was the family way but as both my friend and his father had come to trust in Jesus a Christian funeral was arranged. There would be no money buried with the deceased and no joss-sticks burned on the grave. Instead flowers were planted and tended emphasising love and respect for, but not worship of, the dead. We need to be guided by the Bible on this matter. The resurrection of Jesus from the grave transforms Cemetery Sunday from the gloom of the grave to the anticipated joy that awaits every believer in that great reunion St Paul spoke about; “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. Because of Jesus the sleep of death has been swallowed up in victory, a victory shared by everyone who places their trust in him.