Thomas Lynch is the co-author of The Good Funeral with Thomas G. Long.
Lynch is the Undertaker, Long the Pastor, each bringing their own perspectives on funerals, as well as informing each other through their friendship and partnership in good funerals.
Lynch observes that funeral practice in the USA (and much of the western world) over the last forty or more years, really only a few generations has departed in significant measure from the customs of humanity since time immemorial. The absence of the deceased body in a visible manner and the care and handling of the dead by others has changed funeral practice in profound ways.
With the absence of funeral as dealing with deceased bodies, it is understandable that their meaning changes into the increasingly more sentimental gatherings taking place today.
The bodiless obsequy, which has become a staple of available options for bereaved families in the past half century, has created an estrangement between the living and the dead that is unique in human history. Furthermore, this estrangement, this disconnect, this refusal to deal with our dead (their corpses), could be reasonably expected to handicap our ability to deal with death (the concept, the idea of it). And a failure to deal authentically with death may have something to do with an inability to deal authentically with life.
Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch, The Good Funeral, Westminster John Knox Press, 2013, pg. 60.