This has been an interesting topic indeed! Please read all three posts, but especially this disclaimer posted in Part 1:
Now don’t take this wrong. I realize state laws vary regarding our options when a loved one dies. And you might have chosen the cremation route for economical reasons, this is not in judgement of anyone’s decisions whatsoever. It is our soul and spirit that go on to heaven, or hell, not our body…and many saints have been burned at the stake or died in house fires or explosions. This is not about the body being gone, or unable to be resurrected on the day Jesus returns…this issue is merely, does God have anything to say about how we treat the bodies of our dead?
If you’ve read all three parts, then you know from Part 2, that I’ve formed a conclusion, that biblically, God wants us to honor the bodies of our loved ones when they die, and that in His economy, cremation is not honorable. Is it a sin? Well, I’m not here to say it is. I do know we are under grace, not law, and the more we study God’s word, the more He reveals to us of truth. The irony of this conversation is, what a way to be even more separate from the world, not only in the way we live, but in the way we deal with death.
In Part 1, I shared how my personal “death horror” was related to the embalming process. I didn’t want to have *that* done to my body, dead or alive! So cremation seemed a fairly innocent option. Well, certain things in the Bible (Old Testament law, and yes, I know we’re under grace) point against mutilation of the body…to me, embalming qualifies as mutilation. Definitively! Again, I’m not God, and I’m not saying embalming is or isn’t a sin. (I can see the comment section now–eek!) But it’s an option I’m not comfortable with.
So we were given a link to a resource guide to Home Funeral Care which seems right now, to be the answer for our family. I realize it’s not the path most people in modern society take…but it is the way of old, the preparing of a dead loved one’s body for burial. Remember the book passages I shared in Part 1, of how this can be a sacred offering, an act of reverencing and honoring a life, perhaps highly therapeutic in the grieving process.
I realize for this to work, one’s entire family has to be “with the program.” And that’s as it should be. My family’s conviction needn’t be yours. When it comes to burial decisions of grandparents, or parents, the decisions are often not ours to make. But it is a good topic to discuss before the fact, between husbands and wives, concerning their personal wishes, and in light of the loss of a child.
To make a more informed decision, be sure to check out the following:
- Federal Trade Commission Funeral Guide
- Resource Guide to Home Funeral Care
- Your state laws concerning home burials and funerals
- A very informative New York Times article about home burials and why you should consider going that route
Our state laws require embalming unless burial takes place within 24 hours of death, or if the body is kept on dry ice. Many states also permit burial of family members on their own rural property. These things are good to know ahead of time. There are also quite a number of wooden casket companies available online, that provide caskets quite affordably. Some even ship flat for storage in the garage rafters perhaps, for the family to assemble together when needed–another rite of passage experience in the grieving and letting-go process. Some coffins even double as bookshelves, coffee tables and entertainment centers until they need to be used. Here are a few casket companies to check out:
- Ark Wood Caskets
- Caskets By Design
- ABC Caskets Company
- Oregon Wood Caskets
- Living Hope Woodwork
- Lowest Cost Caskets
- Wood Caskets By John
Summing this topic up…
Don’t let the idea of home burials turn you off. They really are growing in popularity, mainly because you’re looking at an option that might cost you $250 max, compared to $6000-15,000 if you go the funeral home route. The monetary savings isn’t what sold us though. We read several precious testimonials of those that prepared their loved one’s body, and were blessed by the healing it brought to the grieving process. Why not have a simple funeral service, on your own property if state laws allow, followed by a larger memorial service for the public at large if you so desire?
More important than these to the Christian, is to weigh our own convictions and ask prayerfully as we seek for truth in God’s word: What would the Lord have us do? Scripture says it best, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
What that looks like for you and yours, is between you and God!