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)