There is a lot of funeral talk in Mr. Mercedes. In fact, the last time King gave us a story that edged up this close to funerals was Pet Sematary. Of course, Pet Sematary took things to a whole new messed up level, as Creed actually went to the cemetery and dug up his dead son.
So, here's some funeral notes. . .
- I think it's interesting that King says the preacher used the Proverbs 31 text (the virtuous woman) as his sermon for the funeral. That would indeed be a strange text to discuss the dead. And King's perception is right on when he notes that it is uncomfortable when preachers try to eulogize people they don't know. Best to just stick to preaching and giving comfort.
- Perhaps one of the strangest customs we have is something called a "wake" in the South and a viewing other places. At a viewing people come to view a dead body and give their goodbye. From my chair, I think it's perhaps one of the most painful customs we ask mourning families to endure. Second most painful custom has to be an open casket at a funeral. This is pretty pointless, since most people are there to remember the person, discuss the hope of heaven and love on the grieving family. Some funerals have a period at the end when people walk by the dead body to pay final respects.
- One objection raised by a family member is that cremation is unethical. Of course, there are some who hold that view -- but I haven't met them. Most people I encounter are pretty confused about what religion, and in particular Scripture, says about burial. The truth is, there are no commands about burial methods, and no prohibitions to cremation. So characters, such as we find in Mr. Mercedes, who are strongly against the practice are because of personal opinion, not Biblical scholarship.
Speaking of funerals and Mr. Mercedes, check out this review, www.emissourian.com