It’s been a tough week. Last weekend, my friend Shanna’s father was killed in a car accident. Wednesday, our dear friend Leo (see my post on his wedding) passed away from a seizure. And yesterday, Arthur, a friend from my old church finally succumbed to ALS.
Mourning is part of life. Traditionally, the ceremony of mourning took about week and involved community gathering, family meals, a viewing, a funeral service, and a burial service. It was long and involved. As we have grown more hurried, cynical, and secular as a society, we have gotten rid of mourning rituals. The general view is, “I’m dead, what do I care? Have a party and don’t be too upset.” This is a fair attitude for the person who is dying to have. But funerals and mourning ceremonies don’t exist for the dead, but for the living. And for some reason, we are getting rid of centuries-old wisdom that says we need ways to mourn.
The funny thing is, we still find ways to mourn. My friend Dustin died about 4 months ago at the age of 26 from ALS. And yet, his Facebook page is still up. People have steadily been writing him notes since he died. Last week was his birthday and at least 100 people wished him a happy birthday. Once upon a time, friends and family would make regular visits to a gravestone to remember and even talk to people who had died. In a day when we’ve become geographically dispersed and averse to mourning rituals, Facebook is taking the place of the gravestone. While I could argue that this is shallow and superficial, I actually think it’s pretty cool. We need to mourn and we have found a way to do so.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Thank you, Lord. Be with us as we mourn our friends and loved ones who have come home to you.