Memorializing the dead – Does it honor God?

On Memorial Day honor those who have pasted by honoring God.

In the few years since the passing of my mother I seldom visit my mothers grave site. I know many who often return to love ones graves as a common practice. I know that my mother in not in that place. She dwells with God. And that is all I need to know. She would not want me to focus on her death. After all I have wonderful memories of her life. I would much rather remember that than sadness.

I thought about her death for a long while after her passing. How would I honor her. I remember her telling me the Lord tells us NOT to honor the dead but, to honor Him. That she didn’t want me to dwell on her passing. To grieve for the living, not the dead. I always wandered why she said that. As I have gotten older I understand more why she felt that way.

Why should we, as Christians, not build memorials?

I am not saying not to place flowers on a love ones grave, or to never visit it. It is part of the grieving process. We need to feel close to those we have lost at times to heal from the loss. At times I will go to her grave just for my own mind to closeness. But, In my heart I know she is not in that place.

There are extremes to everything.  From memorial Facebook pages, RIP stickers on cars, remembrance plaques, to building a type of shrine at the grave sites.  I have always felt this to be disturbing and sad. To find a grave who for years is built up to an extreme that you know the person has not dealt with the loss.

It goes back to my mothers teaching. As it was, I was taught to no to dwell over a love ones passing so that it interferes in life. It does not honor God for us to dwell on death.   The only death Christians should honor is memory of  our Lord Jesus Christ. To know it and see it as not a death but, a gift of our life in God.

In Luke 9:69-60 Jesus spoke about the dead.

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Many see it as tradition or remembrance. There is nothing wrong with remembering a life that passed on. For that is what God gave us. Life. Is it unhealthy to not let ourselves move past it. Holding to death will not allow us naturally to move beyond that point in our life. Holding on to the past can be a block in how we are serving the Lord in the present. In scripture the word “dead” many times refers to dead in God. Dead in our faith.

By honoring the dead we are memorializing those who may not have been in honor of God. We can not know the personal relationship a person has with God. We can only speculate. If they were in Gods honor they need no prayers or grieving for they are in his house. If they are not, it is too late once they are gone. By turning away from memorializing the dead and focusing on the living, we can turn away from death. Moving past the point of pain and dealing with life of the living. When we let go of death we can truly ”live” in Gods word.


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