As a liturgy, a funeral Mass is a sacred service within a sacred space. It is an action of God’s people the Body of Christ and of Christ Himself, the head of the Body. It is a mystical moment in which the prayers and actions of the heavenly Church of Christ, the angels, and saints is joined with those of the earthly Church of those striving to live saintly lives. When we celebrate a liturgy, we are part of extraordinary moment of theophany, encounter with God in Word and sacrament. When we enter into the sacred space of the church building, we bless ourselves with water and the sign of the Cross to remind ourselves of the Sacrament of Baptism by which we were made a part of God’s holy people. Our participation in the liturgy and the encounter with the holy transforms us more deeply into the Body of Christ, if we orient ourselves by our attention, intention, and participation in the liturgy towards the holy encounter with God that is occurring. That is why the cellphones, the iPads, and the tablets need to be turned off. We need to be present to the liturgy, undistracted from what is outside of it. Tweeting would obviously fall into this category.
When we come to a funeral, we are there to pray and worship. I’ll say it again, we are there to pray, not to tweet, text, or email. We are there to worship God in Word and sacrament, not in Apple or Microsoft. We are there to pray for both the living and the dead, not to be texting our friends. We pray in the hope of salvation for the one who has died, that they may be found worthy through the goodness of their life of eternal life in heaven. We do not pray that they have eternal life as if this were an option. Life after death is a reality for all. How that eternity is spent is another question all together. So, we petition that God, in his mercy, will grant the deceased eternal life with Him, not apart from Him.
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