Day: June 24, 2010

how to avoid grimness at the gravesite

I stand  by the content of yesterday’s post. But I would like to add a cautionary note about it’s application:

Avoiding glibness at the gravesite shouldn’t mean that our default setting is ‘Grim and Humourless’.

There are, obviously, plenty of ways in which people use humour to circle around the reality of death (or otherwise avoid facing up to it). Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosecrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is — among other things — a brilliant, incisive and really very funny exploration of this.

But this doesn’t mean that the only appropriate mood in the face of death is unrelenting dourness. Humour is profoundly human — and humanising. It can testify to our solidarity with one another. And point to the very great value of life.

Even better, from a Christian point of view, an ability to maintain a degree of lightness in the face of our (often extreme) frailty and creaturely limitation can testify to the fact that death is not actually the ultimate reality. We may well all have to face it. But we don’t have to bow down before it. Because we’ve entrusted ourselves to the one who ‘died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them’ (2 Cor 5.15).

UPDATE — Andrew pointed me to Byron’s excellent series on things worse than death, where he says ‘The final silence of irrevocable parting has been broken by Easter laughter’. Awesome.