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Our nation has been disgusted with how the MH17 crash site has been treated.
The possessions of the deceased have been robbed and rummaged through, and it’s made us angry.
Even worse is the warning from our Prime Minister that some Australian bodies may never return home.
This upsets us because we feel the need for dignity in this time of grief.
As the Anglican funeral service describes it, we long to “dispose reverently of the mortal body.”
Even though our flesh and blood is only a perishable container for our imperishable spirit, we rightly wish to treat our deceased with dignity.
Yet there is another reason that we want to have proper funerals for the victims of this act of terrorism.
As the Prayer Book adds, we wish “to come together to mourn a relative, to honour a departed friend… and to show sympathy with the bereaved.”
And most importantly, as we stand in the presence of the deceased, our own mortality is brought into sharp focus.
For “the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (Psalm 103:15-17)
News of the missile attack on Malaysian Airlines MH17 over Ukraine has brought shockwaves of grief and sadness.
We are saddened when natural disasters cause human loss, but we are outraged when death comes from deliberate human actions.
Yet regardless of the circumstances, God leads us when we grieve. He loves us and brings us comfort in our time of sadness.
We see a beautiful picture of this in the way that God brought relief to Hannah in her great anguish and grief (1 Samuel 1:16-17).
And we see how God brings relief to his people by providing the true leader who brings us certainty for eternity, even as we feel the fresh reminder of the frailty of human life.
As I reminded my High School Scripture class today, we cannot plan for the day we will pass away.
But if we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ then the day of our last breath will be the day we meet Jesus in paradise.
This is the real hope that comes from knowing and trusting the real Jesus.