What can you take to the grave? Anything you like, it seems. I asked a friend who has worked in the funeral industry if people take their mobile phones with them when they are buried? I was thinking of the discredited rumour that Mary Baker Eddy had a phone installed in her mausoleum. The truth, it seems, is far stranger.
Extra clothes, food, gardening tools, X rated films and a whole host of other paraphernalia are placed in coffins. Some more elaborate coffins and caskets have photos and paintings on the inside of the lid. One wonders why? These arrangements make even the Pharoahs’ preparations seem quite reasonable.
It is apparent that many people have some vague concept of an afterlife. But what sort of afterlife is it if you need to take these things with you? Is it just another version of planet earth as we know it? If it is, why bother?
Scripture gives us a far more glorious picture than hare-brained human fantasies. The resurrection of the dead is most clearly witnessed in the life of Christ. He is our chief evidence for its truth. However there are other passages too. 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 are just two that remind us that there will be a resurrection. The dead will rise. However it is fascinating that we are given no instructions as to how people should be buried.
I believe the Bible consistently points to both the mystical and miraculous. The resurrection is not about a rebirth into a broken human condition, but an overcoming of all that was sinful and broken. Christ will take us into the presence of God for eternity. Scripture gives us many tantalising but incomplete glimpses which point to a certain hope. What we see, though, is exciting and amazing. It also strongly suggests that we can leave the mobile phone, gardening tools and videos behind. What we are called to do to make this resurrection a glorious reality is to trust completely in the one who showed the way – Jesus!