Recently, my guys and I conducted a burial service. Luckily, the weather was alright that day.
For those who have not been to Choa Chu Kang Cemetery to witness a burial, it indeed is much tougher than cremation – at least for the pallbearers. The usual procedure would be to lower the casket down into the plot of land that has already been dug by the staff.
Using two thick brown ropes and two long sturdy logs, the pallbearers would arduously lower the casket bit by bit; taking care to ensure the casket does not drop on the ground (that would be disastrous). You could refer to the video attached in this post to better visualise what i describe over here. The Pastor/Priest would say some prayers as the coffin is being lowered. At the close of the burial service, flowers would be placed on top of the casket as a form of tribute to the dearly departed.
When a burial is conducted on rainy days, my fellow pallbearers would take the brunt of the bad weather. It is common to see their precious black leather shoes soiled after the service. You might even get to see them drenched, that’s normal because the burial service still has to go on rain or shine. I’m thankful that my guys don’t complain about that and in fact continue doing their best to serve the family.
Another disadvantage of a burial service? I guess it’s pretty obvious – the higher price you have to pay for the plot of land compared to the price to be paid for a Niche at Mandai Columbarium; pretty much due to the land constraint we face in Singapore.
Why then do people still opt for a Burial?
I’d think that the most compelling reason for Christians would be that the heart of the Gospel is Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, which puts burial at the center of Christianity. A few bible verses can be referenced to this fact
- Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you…For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
- Colossians 2:12 [We were] buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Of course, it does not mean that you have to be buried to accept the Gospel, nor does it mean that being cremated is rejecting the Gospel.
Ultimately, it really depends on what family members want for the dearly departed.
One point to note is that based on years of feedback and experience, the grieve and pain from seeing our loved one getting cremated is much more acute especially since fire is central to the imagery of Hell (Fire Of Hell). This however is weighed against practical reasons like the higher cost of burial, the relatively inaccessible location of the burial land plots and the fact that all burial land plots will be exhumed after 15 years (only applicable in Singapore).
Deciding between a Burial and Cremation is an important decision to make as it would determine the final resting place of the dearly departed, where you’d most likely be paying tribute in remembrance of him/her years down the road. So do consider carefully the pros and cons for each choice before making a decision!