Death and Wal-Mart

Well, I have been MIA for the past few weeks due to moving, traveling, etc., […]

Sean Norris / 11.9.09

Well, I have been MIA for the past few weeks due to moving, traveling, etc., but I stumbled across this article on a week or so ago, and thought it worth mentioning. It turns out that Wal-Mart has begun to sell coffins online, that’s right, coffins. Now it is truly your one-stop shopping destination. The best part is that you can find the caskets under the “health and beauty” section:)

A lot could be said about the new additions to the Wal-Mart inventory, but I found myself

feeling very grateful for this development because it reminds us of our mortality. It is not unlike many of the old Episcopal churches in the South that have graveyards surrounding them. I was just down in South Carolina this past week visiting some friends of Mockingbird, and every church I visited sat amidst the gravestones of its parishoners. You don’t see this very much any more with many of today’s churches worshipping in converted shopping centers and athletic arenas, and I think we are worse off for it. But, those old graveyards remind us that we are not living for this world. They remind us that we are mortal, and ultimately they remind us that we are sinful. Death in this world is a direct result of sin.
It seems a strange juxtaposition going to a church to hear some hope and running into the unavoidable evidence of our impending death, but that’s actually what our faith is all about. We walk through the graveyard (death) and enter the church to hear the Gospel of forgiveness through the cross of Jesus Christ (resurrection).

Thanks to those graveyards, and now Wal-Mart, we know exactly what we are being saved from. They prevent any illusions that we are living for “our best life now” or that Christianity should be focused on saving this world and this life. It’s not at all. Christianity is about being saved for a new life and a new earth. Though we deserve eternal death because of the cross of Christ we receive the promise of eternal life. As a result, the denial of death can stop. Now we stare it in the face knowing that it is not the final word. We become aliens in this world. Without our hope firmly founded in Jesus’ death and resurrection going to church in the South and surfing the Wal-Mart website would be terribly depressing, but with HIM we can hear the words of life and maybe even be free enough to get a great deal on a coffin.
This is a pic of St. Helena’s in Beaufort, SC. Our good friend Andrew Pearson serves there.