The prevalent nature of handling dead bodies and conducting funerals in the west is not to handle them at all, nor to view them.
Those who view dead bodies observe that they look different.
The departure of life brings that change.

For those of Christian belief the soul has departed.
It is good to remember that the comfort of that departure should not give the impression that there is any less value in the body that remains and decays.
That body is no less meaningful, and remains precious.

Though the presence and committal of dead bodies is troubling and challenging to modern sensitivities, the magnification of loss and grief that accompanies death in which the body is consumed or destroyed leaving nothing for loved ones to commit or deal with points out a need that modern sensitivities suggest we don’t have.

From Thomas Lynch, co-author of The Good Funeral with Thomas G. Long.

Likewise, I’ve heard no few well-meaning, though misguided, people suggest that the body in the box, there among the gladioli, and hushed respects, was “just a shell” or “only the tent” or some other metaphor to minimize the loss. They mean, of course, to say that they believe our souls outlive us, that we are more than blood and bone and corporality. But to say that there is “something more,” albeit unseen, is not to say that what we do see is “something less.” The bodies of the dead are not “just anything or “only” anything else. They are precious to the living who have lost them. They are the seeing hard as it is that is believing, the certainty against which our senses rail and to which our senses cling. They are the singular, particular sadness that must be subtracted from the endless mundane tally of sadnesses that are the everyday history of the world.

Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch, The Good Funeral, Westminster John Knox Press, 2013, pg. 79.

One thought on “The Departure Of The Soul Does Not Make A Human Body Any Less (via Thomas Lynch – The Good Funeral)

  1. Brian W Johnson says:

    A good book, thank you.

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