Funerals are a reality, yet most of us choose not to give them much thought. What makes a good funeral? We address that question and the importance of a caring community with pastor, professor, and author Thomas Long. He helps us learn what goes into planning a funeral; what funeral directors do; and how we can help those going through this season of grief. We gain answers and insight as we talk about The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care. Here’s where our conversation takes us:
What changes have we seen over the years in the way funerals are handled? Pastor Thomas notes that, with the marked rise in the cremation rates, having the body at the funeral is no longer the norm. The dead aren’t always welcome at their own service.
The biggest surprise most people experience when approaching the planning of a funeral is the sheer financial cost. At the same time, they’re often taken by surprise at the way their grief manifests itself.
So should we plan our own services in advance? We discuss the positives and negatives, including what the family will most likely go through if they’re the ones planning your service after you’ve passed away.
“Planning and thinking through what a life meant can be a heart-wrenching experience for many people.”
Is there a balance we can strike at a funeral between telling the story of a life and getting the great news of the gospel across?
Pastor Thomas offers a word for those who deal with our final arrangements, saying that this is a work that is holy and so instrumental in helping people through their grief.
We speak to the depth of meaning behind the traditions of a funeral, and the great hope that we have as Christians. Death is not the end.