Wednesday, February 1, 2012
What not to do with cremated remains. . .
Officers Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell have launched Holy Smoke LLC, a company that will, for a price, load cremated human ash into shotgun shells, and rifle and pistol cartridges. It’s the perfect life celebration for someone who loves the outdoors or shooting sports, Parnell says….
“This isn’t a joke. It’s a job that we take very seriously,” he said. “This is a reverent business. We take the utmost care in what we do and show the greatest respect for the remains.” It has established myholysmoke.com to promote the service and traffic on it has been growing, Holmes says.
For $850, one pound of ash will be loaded into 250 shotgun shells. The ash is mixed in the cups that hold the shot, not the powder.The same amount of ash will fill the bullets of 100 standard caliber center-fire rifle rounds or 250 pistol rounds…
“Some people have been concerned that a small amount of ash will remain in the animal that is shot with the ammunition, Holmes said. “But it’s just carbon, and a small amount at that. You don’t have anything to worry about.” The animal should be killed quickly by the shot, to prevent any possibility of spreading the ashes in the animal’s blood, he says. The area around where the animal was struck should not be consumed….
I am not sure what to say... so many punch lines come to mind... so many sighs about the sadness of it all... but surely we could see it coming. As cremation becomes more and more prevalent, the issue of what to do with the remains grows ever larger. You can laugh but the whole thing makes me want to cry...
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Clearly, burial of the body is taught in Scripture, not cremation. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, even in death. Look at the care and reverence accorded Jesus in his burial. A great book on the subject of burial and cremation is by Rev. Dr. Al Schmidt, available on Amazon. It is the only Lutheran book written on the subject.
In 1962, 5 percent of all funerals
In 2009, 37 percent of all funerals
By 2025, over 50 percent of all
funerals will be cremations.
Regardless of how the Christian
disposes his or her body, our God will give us a glorified body on the Last Day.
The above statistics were for
funerals conducted in the United
States of America and were supplied
by the American Funeral Industry.
Cremation was not practiced in the early church because it was deemed a denial of the resurrection, since the pagan Romans practiced it.
In our day and age that is not so much a problem.
Regardless of how the Christian
disposes his or her body, our God will give us a glorified body on the Last Day.
Should I decide to be cremated I certainly don't want my remains to be used to kill an innocent living creature. Our culture is become coarse beyond compare.
With God, all things are possible. All will be resurrected on the last day. I choose cremation for myself, and I want my ashes to be interred in a cemetery vault. My remains will be honored with a wall plaque.
I have never understood why anyone would want their ashes divided and scattered. How does this honor the dead person. There is something wrong with our society when we cease to have respect for the dead.
Some churches also have beautifully appointed columbariums where ashes may be respectfully interred. Often one sees the Agnus Dei or Chi Rho employed.
Do a Bible study on burial and the authority of Scripture speaks volumes. Christians simply bury, not burn in the Bible. The resurrection of the body is vital in our teaching. So is how we accord the body respect and reverence in burial as we confess the Gospel in life and death. Schmidt's book, "Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes" is an excellent treatment of burial vs. cremation and will cause believers to rethink the acceptance of cremation.
Anonymous, people die in many ways, not all of them intentional. If only one microscopic piece of their bodies remained it would not matter. The new, glorified body we will receive will be as different from our current one as an acorn is from the Oak although Scripture does suggest we will be recognizable as the individuals we are.
If people prefer burial then let them be buried.
Should we go all the way and be "buried" in tombs carved out of rock as was done in ancient Israel?
Yes, I want my ashes to be placed in a columbarium.
Understood. In biblical times, Israelites and Christians buried their dead. Only pagans burned their dead. Pagans burned their living and their dead as human sacrifices to their gods. Cremation has no such connotation today. It is simply an inexpensive and convenient way to dispose of a corpse. Interring the ashes in an urn is a tasteful way to have reverence for the deceased.
If you wish to be buried rather than be cremated, then by all means, you are free to do so.
One has but, to look at someone who died in the Twin Towers (or any other circumstance where fire destroys the body), to relize that if the body is cremated it is not a sin. As we are charged by God to be caretakers of our planet, perhaps we should take a grave (pardon the pun) look at how we are dedicating the livable space to the preservation of our empty shells. I don't see anything wrong with burial, but, I cannot see how long we can continue to bury every body. To date there have been more people on the planet who have died, than there is now alive. and we find ourselves running out of space.
Now as far as the Shotgun burial, I put in the same catagory as a shotgun wedding Just Plain Wrong!
Funeral and burial doctrines and practices are guided by Scripture, not by pragmatism or economics. God has given us good teaching and clear examples in the Bible, so our witness to the sanctity of the body is upheld in life and death. Burning the body does not fit the Scripture and especially the burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Pastor, Thank you for posting this piece and for exposing this bad practice of cremated remains.
I just hate to think of all those burned martyrs who'll be denied the physical resurrection!
I would prefer to be buried without being pickled in formaldehyde and placed in a concrete vault, but sadly, PA law requires just that; so I 'll go for shake-n-bake until the undertakers and Cemetery owners lose their grip on our state legislature. AND-most importantly- I want my ground-up bone meal to be placed in the ground with proper Christian rites.
BTW - the ancient Egyptian (ie, pagan) burial practices of today can also be seen as very un-scriptural, and God does not need our remains to be pickled for Him to work the miracle of our resurrection.
A good study of the Bible is always in order on this topic of funerals, burial rites, and the resurrection of the body. Thanks for posting these contributions so we can go to God's Word for direction in our practice so the body may be glorified as the temple of the Holy Spirit, to be raised on the Last Day like Christ's body, which as accorded great care and love in burial.
Sometime between October 27, 2009 and January 27, 2010, the LCMS FAQ was changed to include statements favoring the position of Rev. Alvin Schmidt in his book on cremation, a book published by Regina Orthodox Press, a producer of books on the false doctrine of the Eastern (Un)Orthodox Church, which has traditionally opposed cremation. The statements, and the position in Rev. Schmidt's book on cremation, were legalistic and heterodox. They also contradicted the official position of the Missouri Synod as well as the stated positions of three other conservative Lutheran church bodies - CLC, WELS, and ELS.
Early last fall, after information was provided to the CTCR, those erroneous statements and all mention of Rev. Schmidt's book were removed from the LCMS FAQ on cremation, "Life Issues," (p. 4), which now states, in part:
"The LCMS has no official position on cremation. Cremation is increasing in favor, in part because of space limitations in some cemeteries and because of health considerations. The primary reason for the increase in cremations is economic, however, since it avoids such costs as the purchase of coffins and cemetery plots and substantially lowers the expense of a funeral....
"In their textbook Pastoral Theology (used at our Synod's seminaries), LCMS Pastors Norbert H. Mueller and George Kraus offer this perspective: 'Not too long ago, the church viewed cremation negatively. Because the general public associated the practice with heathen religions and/or an attempt to disprove the possibility of the resurrection, Christians were reluctant to consider it. In itself, the practice has no theological significance and may be used in good conscience.' Synod’s Lutheran Service Book Agenda, approved by the LCMS in convention, includes an instruction (rubric) for the committal of a person’s ashes, encouraging burial or interment and discouraging the scattering of the ashes."
It is also worth noting that Jesus was interred in a tomb but was not actually buried in the ground as we do today. There was no casket, etc.
Also, that when Israel left Egypt the body of Jacob was embalmed according to Egyptian practice due to the long journey ahead. Observant Jews as a rule do not practice embalming but Scripture notes this exception.
I disagree with the scattering of ashes but as long as they are respectfully interred find no problem with cremation.
There is no explicit scriptural command against cremation. Some believers object to the practice of cremation on the basis it does not recognize that one day God will resurrect our bodies and re-unite them with our soul/spirit (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). However, the fact that a body has been cremated does not make it any more difficult for God to resurrect that body. The bodies of Christians who died a thousand years ago have, by now, completely turned into dust. This will in no way prevent God from being able to resurrect their bodies. He created them in the first place; He will have no difficulty re-creating them. Cremation does nothing but “expedite” the process of turning a body into dust. God is equally able to raise a person’s remains that have been cremated as He is the remains of a person who was not cremated. The question of burial or cremation is within the realm of Christian freedom. A person or a family considering this issue should pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and follow the conviction that results.
Let's also look into the body itself... Does the donation of organs for the benefit of others conflict with the bible. Now let's look at amputations. Were Southeners acting properly when they buried Andrew Jackson's Left Arm? What do we do under these circumstances.... Perhaps we shouldn't put limitations on God
I am wondering if aversion here to cremation is a product of American Evangelicalism? I realize the early Church did not practice it. I have read however that was so because of ubiquitous pagan practices.
If you want to speak of respect of remains, what shall be said of the Church of England? It was common practice (since church cemeteries were limited in space) to leave remains in the ground till nothing was left but the bones. These were then exhumed and stored in what were called charnel houses.
The fairly recent brouhaha over the ossuary alleged to contain Jesus' bones indicates that even the ancient Jews were not so squeamish as we are.
In addition to the company, Holy Smoke LLC, who will load your (or your loved one's) cremated ashes into shotgun, rifle, or pistol cartridges of your choice, one Lutheran pastor went with another alternative.
For 39 years the Rev. Gordon C. Bergin was pastor of Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and had a long time interest in fireworks. Before his death in Feb. 2005, at age 93, Rev. Bergin, told his son, Brian Bergin, who is also a Lutheran pastor and the founder of Northern Lighter Pyrotechnics Inc., a fireworks club, that he wanted to say goodbye in a spectacular way: aboard a flaming rocket. According to this USA Today news report:
"Mike Swisher, a member of the Northern Lighters and a pyrotechnics manufacturer, was asked to build the 6-inch shell. About 1 cup of Bergin's ashes were to be used as packing material instead of the usual sawdust.
"Swisher said viewers won't notice any difference in the display because of the ashes. He said the burst should be a trail of sparks and at the end of each comet trail, there will be a little cross-shaped burst."
Rev. Bergin was launched at the 2005 Fourth of July fireworks display at Marine on St. Croix, MN.
in my last comment I erred in saying Andrew Jackson's arm for those history buffs out there I correct myself in saying Stonewall Jackson's arm which the bone in the upper arm had been shattered by a round ball. to err is human....
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