Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
My mother was cremated and I want to keep her ashes. Is this okay?
A: I’m so sorry for your loss. In the natural order of things, we will all one day bury our parents. Often times, when we experience this terrible heartache – and we are never really prepared for it – our first reaction is to cling to it, as we did as children. It is perfectly understandable that this is how you would react to your mother’s death.
But maybe you write to me because you are unsure about it?
Christians are led by the Holy Spirit; God lives with and in us as wisdom, affirmation, conviction and accountability. When something doesn’t settle in our gut (and I don’t mean digestion), we experience a nudge from the Holy Spirit. He often speaks out loud to us or through Bible counsel, but most of the time he nudges. Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams can all be influenced by the gentle impression of his hand; a nudge. One push. He wants us to find out his opinion about our situation for ourselves – by looking for him and finding out what he thinks; hear what he wants to say. I believe you have had a business push for holding onto your mother’s ashes. The question is why. Why do you keep it?
You know your mother has gone to her heavenly home. After she dies in Christ Jesus, she is no longer here and now a member of the “great cloud of witnesses” cheering you on from above (Hebrews 12: 1-3). She is involved in a new and completely different life than the one she lived on earth. You just hold onto the dust of her; the literal ashes; The backlog no longer represents who she was and who she is right now. If you can accept that your present life is now being enjoyed in a different, glorious realm, it can help you let go. You see, life is really a cycle. When we refuse to let go of one thing on our circular path, we are hindering the next thing God wants to bring us. When we are hindered in our progress in both life and spirit, we miss all sorts of things. Some may even miss their destiny or calling because they refuse to accept change. Letting go of something immediately brings change: We receive the new. Maybe a new reality?
Keeping the body of the deceased close is also a great spiritual danger. (Certainly, the cremated ashes are a condensed version of a body.) One of the ultimate cremation desires is often to have the ashes distributed for a reason. It is an important signal for our spirits, thoughts and feelings that the deceased has flown away to God. It frees them and it frees us psychologically. When we cling to something dead, we cling to death. We then invite the agent of death into our lives. “God’s children all have bodies. So Jesus himself had the same. But because Jesus also had a body, he could die and stop the devil. The devil has the power to let people die. But Jesus was able to stop the power of death by his own death. ”- Hebrews 2:14, WE. Satan is looking for ways to bring death. Its sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Life and death are opposites. We cannot focus on one and expect to fully enjoy the other. We are hindering our lives and the devil is doing his mission.
“But I honor my mother,” we cry. “I respect them by keeping their ashes with me … keep them sacred.” Yes, we want to honor our dead, and that is what a funeral is for. However, if we make the ash urn part of the furnishings of our home, the current state of our loved ones is not appreciated. They moved on and want us to do the same.
Jesus called us to stand up for life in more than one way. Darkness and death will always oppress the living. We honor Christ by choosing the fullness of life for which he died. Choose life!
Do you have a question or comment about Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: [email protected] or write to PO Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information, please visit www.adriennewgreene.com or the Ask Pastor Adrienne YouTube channel.