The Good Funeral Guide Blog

From God we come and to Him we return

Monday, 12 March 2012

 

A thought for the day from Richard Rawlinson

 

The trend for funerals conducted as celebrations of life must surely stem from society’s weakened belief in life after death. Even Christians now opt for the panegyric of the dead through tributes to the deceased instead of a ceremony combining natural grief for the loss and hope of the mercy of God.

In the days of the Hapsburg Empire there was a ritual to receive the body of a dead emperor into the cathedral in Vienna: attendants with the coffin would knock on the doors and a voice from within would ask: “Who demands entry?” Many grand titles would be read out. The doors would remain shut. The attendants would knock again and the same question would be asked. The response this time would simply be “A poor sinner”. The doors would be thrown open and the coffin would proceed inside.

3 comments on “From God we come and to Him we return

  1. Wednesday 14th March 2012 at 8:07 am

    That’s a great link, Richard! Good reading.

  2. Richard Rawlinson

    Tuesday 13th March 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Good point James. Hell should not be dropped as an inconvenient truth as is made clear in the link attached. The debate should be how we can avoid it. People may not envisage flames of torture nowadays but a place without God is a place without love, and a place without love must be pretty vile.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/03/02/bishop-davies-of-shrewsbury-says-we-need-to-face-the-reality-of-hell-during-lent-it’s-such-an-unusual-thing-for-a-bishop-to-say-that-it-made-a-herald-headline/

  3. Tuesday 13th March 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I like that equalising gesture of humility.
    However I feel that the various faiths are failing to address a huge gap in the culture by ducking the afterlife mystery.
    Hell has obviously been dropped (although there never existed a more potent marketing tool!).
    But replaced with ……. what…. re-union with loved ones?
    Thin gruel for a thirsty soul.
    What does the Christian Church REALLY say on the matter?

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