Ben Witherington has an insightful post about death and the Christian. I’ve mentioned our culture’s denial about death before, and I think he’s spot on about the world’s thinking and how it can subtly impact Christian thinking.
I was struck by the old Southern custom of traffic stopping as a funeral cortege passes. I experienced exactly that situation one day a few years ago in Newry, Co Down. I suspect that the South probably preserves something of the widespread customs of a bygone age, just as more rural Northern Ireland does.
Since we live opposite a cemetery on the extreme outskirts of the city, I can’t escape the almost weekly occurrence of funerals right outside the window of the room I work in. But the invisibility of death has made considerable inroads among Christians in this part of the world. I was very surprised to discover my 17-year-old nephew had only been to his first funeral last year. By his age I had been to quite a few funerals, including that of my own mother. Distressing as the latter was, I suspect it would have been considerably more traumatic had I not been prepared by attendance at other funerals before. I’m not convinced that Christian parents are helping their children by shielding them from realities of life, like death. Christians, of all people, should realise that death is not a morbid subject that is off-limits for civilized folks.