Why are We Afraid of a Dead Body? Odd, but Good Question!
When life leaves a body, it is but a shell of what was originally there. It is quite mysterious, but the truth is that life that was breathing, talking…even eating has left that body. I am hopeful that when my time comes that I will have a moment before seeing my Maker to hover over the place I am leaving and say a fond farewell to this body that has served me well. It has given me pleasure…taken me places that I wanted to go…whether it was just across the room or across the sea. The body is an amazing creation of God. When we need it no more, we know that God with His Almighty power can raise every hair and molecule from where it has been laid to rest…whether in a beautiful casket or in a cremation urn. He put the earth and universe together, so I have no problem with what He will do at the Resurrection.
All of this leads me to ask a simple question….”Why are we so afraid of death… or a dead body?” Is it that many people fear this great mystery because they are not ready to face death? Do some think that the Grim Reaper will somehow come to their door next and they would not greet it so kindly as in this picture.
Regardless of the reasons, we know our upbringing ,or our culture, may see things differently.
I remember when I was a child, living in the country of North Carolina, my grandfather died. I had known him as “Papa’. It was the custom in those days to bring the body to the home and let him lay there for people to come in and see him one last time and pay respects to the family. A bedroom was cleared out and Papa was placed there. Sometime in the evening, I went to see him. I was a curious child and I had never seen a person who was dead. I carefully lifted the thin, see-through veil that was placed over his face and touched his cheek. I was surprised that the cheek was hard and cold. I knew instantly that this was not the Grand-papa who had told stories to us in the kitchen. He was not the man who had grown strawberries in the fields and talked with me about the family history while we chucked corn. Neither was he the man who had taken me by the hand and walked to the country church. He was not the man who Grandmother had threaten to call if I went one step further down the dirt road to the main highway. (I said I was going to run away at about age 7.) There was nothing in seeing him dead that made me fearful for he was just not the same. Yes, death is a mystery, but I believe someday I will see Papa who has gone on before me.
One thing is certain…most people try to make a funeral a special event. I just went to a friend’s funeral where they called it a “celebration” because her life had been a celebration and this is what she wanted. They released balloons at the graveside in honor of her and the love she gave while alive.
The vehicles where the body is carried to a final resting place have evolved over the centuries.
One may ask, why are you writing about such a subject? Don’t you respect those who may have just lost a family member? Absolutely, I do…but when I received an email from my good friend, Margie, with the following video, I asked myself the question, “Why are we afraid of a dead body?” That question brought the thoughts that I have just shared with you.
Can one joke around with people’s fears…when it is such a serious matter? Maybe so… for they did so in South Africa. Remember the old TV program called “Candied Camera”? The men shown here decided to see how people would respond to a completely staged request to take a so-called “dead body “to a funeral. The most that we can say is they had a great sense of humor. Luckily, no one actually died of a heart attack! I think the reactions speak for themselves.
If you have genuine fears about your own death, Give your life to Christ for the Holy Scriptures tell us:
“I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord. Whoever has faith in Me shall have life even though he die...and everyone who has life and has committed himself to me in faith shall not die forever.
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last He will stand upon the earth. After my awaking, He will raise me up; and in my body I shall see God. I shall see, and my eyes behold Him Who is my Friend and not a stranger.
For none of us has life in himself, and none becomes his own master when he dies. For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord and if we die, we die in the Lord. So then, whether we live or die we are the Lord’s possession.”