Does death become us?
I facilitated my first funeral this morning since moving to France to serve as pastor of a parish of the French Reformed Church. Arriving and being unknown the mortuary staff was amazed when I shared where I came from. What? You'd leave California to come here? There were nice, professional and competent. It was like I was at one of the nicer mortuaries in my previous home of Oakland. They played music before and after the brief service I led. The room was without art, pale colored, neutral and calming in every aspect - including the idyllic pond scene complete with lillipads and light reflecting into the ceremony room. It was all about being peaceful. Yet I was struck by the way in which those professionals avoided "death." They only referred to the man who had died as "he." The casket was closed. It was as if he was there without being there, without ever being referred to in the first person (except by me) and then conveniently and efficiently carted off to the music of Bach through a hidden door on the western wall of the room.