Sunday, 25 October 2015

Like ending a veggie meal with a burger!

Recently I found myself at a Crem' waiting for the person in front to finish their slot and as I listened to their 'this is all you get' eulogy I thought how hard a message it was; where was the hope, the 'something extra' that gets you out of bed in the morning and enables you to see something more in life than, 'This is all it is - and then it's gone - bye and thanks for all the ....?'

The person 'doing' the 'service' then did a sort of committal but instead of the perhaps more familiar 'earth, ashes and dust ' that goes along with a Christian funeral we got the deceased 'being consigned to eternity' and lots of talk about them 'moving on' - and this raised the question in the back of my head (just next to the, 'Is it time to eat' section I reckon by the way my stomach rumbled): 'Moving on to where, with whom - why and how?'

After all, if you're a humanist then surely there's no divine being and no one to go anywhere with!

Yes indeedy, I was experiencing syncretic atheism at its very best (should that be 'worst'?) as somehow some 'god being' had crept in to the proceedings and whilst untheological thinking should have been being peddled it was obvious that there was an emerging theology , complete with an emerging god (or someone who could lead the deceased to somewhere by some hitherto unspecified and uncarpeted (or desired) being!

But which god could it be? After all, there are so many on offer and up until then I assume that, being a humanist service, none of those on offer were desired, invited or engaged with!

Then, as is to offer me some clue the service drew to a close wth the person conducting the thing offering 'an opportunity to take some comfort and draw on words, and thinking, that have provided solace to so many for so very long!'

Then the music started playing and I nearly dropped (metaphorically speaking) me chips!

Amazing Grace - full version complete with '... the Lord has given good to me ...'

Like a veggie meal ending with a burger!


UKViewer said...

I had similar experiences at two different humanist/non-religious funerals that I attended.

At the first, a long standing Christian was supposed to have lost his faith, conveniently just before his death (his family, particularly his spouse didn't believe). The service was totally devoid of any Christian input, until the secular committal, when the celebrant said "We'll end with the Lord's Prayer". We couldn't believe our ears? But the fact that it was said by EVERYONE, including the family demonstrated to me that they were sending us a mixed message, or, perhaps hedging their bets.

The second was for my Uncle. He had been raised Catholic, but had ceased practicing after WW2 - where he told me, that he'd seen and done things that he felt that God would never forgive him for? He said that he knew that there was a God, but he couldn't bear to face him to confess. Here was a case, for an obvious Christian funeral, his partner of 28 years, wanted one (they were both divorcee's who felt that they couldn't remarry in Church) but in my eyes, were just as married as I was. But his children (NOK) refused to contemplate a Christian funeral of any sort, so organised a non-religious funeral. It was a disgrace, with word pictures of him, romping among the stars with his favourite dog, waiting to meet them at some time in the future - false hope indeed. Than during the service, she said "We'll pause now for a moment for those who pray to pray". But quietly, not aloud. I prayed for him as did my spouse and his partner, not sure what anyone else did, because my eyes were closed.

Afterwards, the children added insult to injury, but not telling the partner about the interment of his ashes...... We managed to organise a memorial service in an Anglican Church for him, from which the partner drew some comfort- but no replacement for the Christian funeral that she wanted. The whole point being that my Uncle had never openly expressed his wishes for a funeral, apart from telling his partner that he expected to have a Catholic funeral, despite it all.

Both of these instances demonstrate the lack of logic employed by civil celebrants. If they just expressed the sentiment "He or she is dead, there's nothing to look forward to", they'd soon be out of business. That would have integrity, the rest of it is just so much mumbo jumbo.

Anonymous said...

We had a humanist funeral for my dad because we said he wasnt religious.It was hopeless and dreadful. Not going to church is not the same as not religious. My dad would have been put out by the stuff the humanist priest said. We had the lords my shepherd and amazing grace which now I think about it is just like eating meat.

When mum goes Im having a vicar to do the service.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thank you, both, for your comment. Duly noted :-)