Have you been to a funeral recently? There is something about this time of year when the number of deaths increases.

It's partly because of the weather which touches the vulnerable elderly.

As a minister who conducts funerals, it is interesting that in our modern society death is still a challenge. 

In recent years funerals have tended to become private events, for the immediate family.  A thanksgiving service is held either before or after the funeral.

There are practical reasons families prefer this. They are, for example, better able to spend time with friends and family who attend the service. 

But there is also something about not wanting public grieving with the coffin present.  In addition, the pain of death and its emotions are thought best kept private.

But the truth is, death is a normal part of our human experience.  We cannot keep death private as much as we might wish. 

When someone dies it affects a whole community.  There is the postman, the newsagent, the GP etc.  

I was in the Caribbean for a funeral.  When the service was over the whole community went out behind the coffin and stood around the grave singing hymns. 

Everyone took turns putting dirt on until the grave was filled.

Christians have a perspective on death that it is not the end, but a transition to eternal life.  This gives a hopeful slant on the pain of death. 

Next time you attend a funeral, don’t think of it as the end, but as a new beginning.

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