Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lao Cremation

The mother of one of our friends died last week at age 84 and we attended the cremation ceremony. Most Lao Buddhists are cremated but Christians tend to bury their loved ones here. The church sees this as one way that Christians and Buddhist are different and they encourage their people to bury.

This family was different. They are Christians but their mother had decided that she definitely wanted to be cremated. She said it was for two reasons: The first was that she wanted to get a completely new and beautiful body in heaven and the second reason was that she was very afraid of worms!

The church leaders reluctantly agreed to participate with the plans but the whole ceremony had to take place on neutral ground (not at a church and for sure not at a Buddhist temple). This was managed by having it at a cleared lot out of town that a family member owned.

These photos show the delivery of the body in the white and gold casket, the crowd waiting in tents in the shade, people filing past and laying small bags of dust on the pyre, the burning of the body and the hugging later.

"..for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Genesis 3:19