Cremating family members?

Lisa Cherry —  April 28, 2016

Quite frankly this is a discussion I would like to avoid. Cremation vs. burial of the dead.

It seems that most discussions of the issue happen when emotions are raw. No one wants to ever imply that someone did a "wrong" or "bad" thing in how they chose to care for a deceased relative. So when I stumbled upon John Piper's sensitive discussion of the issue, I was intrigued.

Perhaps this is a "sticky topic" it would be good to cover here before it catches any off us off guard in a moment of grief.

I did not know that the statistics toward cremation had shifted so dramatically.

"There has been a skyrocketing preference for cremation over the past decades in the United States (1960 — 3.5%; 1999 — 24.8%; 2014 — 46.7%; in some states over 75%)."

I think Rev. Piper's sensitivity is clear when he accurately states there are no "mandates" in scripture on this issue. However, his points of concern I believe are well taken.

"...the afterlife has never been viewed as the 'immortality of the soul' finally liberated from its physical prison. Rather Christianity has always viewed the body as essential to full humanity so that the life to come has primarily been seen as the resurrection of the body in glorious eternal life."

I would add another to his concerns. It relates to the grief process to those who are left behind. I have noticed the trends when their is no body awaiting burial. Saying good by sometimes seems confused.

Since their is no body awaiting burial, memorial services are frequently delayed to a "more convenient time" which can, for some loved ones, delay the grief recovery.

What is right for your family? Armed with this article you will be ready to wade into the conversations.

Image: Bryan "Headstones fore and aft"  via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)