Discussing
In lieu of "in lieu of flowers"

David Greusel

David Greusel
June 20, 2016

David Greusel makes a Biblical case for "wasteful" flowers at funerals.

Cyndy Warnier
June 20, 2016

I really appreciate your thought on this. I understand both ways, but in the end, as a hospice chaplain and musician who has played for many a funeral, those flowers are not only beauty but healing! For the families to get together to buy a wreath for a loved one is an outpouring of love and it is public love which lets others know how much this person meant to them. Beauty - love - they both go together and I think Jesus got it right! On the other hand, I have played for funerals where the flower displays were absolutely ostentatious, if not almost obscene - the scent so powerful some people actually had to leave! Ah, there we come into moderation, and I'm quite sure Jesus understand that as well.

Jeffrey Zetto
June 20, 2016

I fully agree with architect David Greusel that flowers are important for a funeral and that those who opt for a more "practical" expression of grief miss very important personal, communal, and spiritual dynamics.
However, we must also be careful lest these visual expressions impede the Church's proclamation of God's Very Good News in Jesus Christ through Word-and-Sacrament and Architecture.
Jesus said, "the very stones cry out" (Luke 19:40), affirming that both Herod's and Solomon's Temples were affirmations of God's Grace and Love. When funeral flowers impede the action of the Liturgy and the sight-lines of the art-and-architecture of the worship space, then we are allowing profligance to dominate proclamation and one must say "enough."
That is why the Christian funeral is to be informed by both the Kuebler-Ross paradigm and the Jessica Mitford warning. We want to empower the movement from death-to-new-life and not deny the reality of what is happening.
Flowers, yes; a jungle, no.

Brisn
June 20, 2016

Great reading. Although not for a funeral my wife and I made a decision about our second sons first birthday party. We had over 100 people invited to his party. Our house was already filled with toys because of our first son. So in lieu of gifts we asked the attendees to bring a check for the local Girls&Boys; Club. We told them we would match their donation. We were excited and blessed to present a gift to the club for $3000. Much better than more toys to trip over. Just a thought for others out there.

Sandy MacGregor
June 20, 2016

My wife of 41 years passed away of a brain aneurysm last November. In the obituary I included the "in lieu of flowers" please donate to ...
Notwithstanding this I received two bouquets, one from colleagues from the company I had recently retired from and one from a previous long time client. I was deeply touched by both. They really made a difference for me in a very difficult time...

Patti Carter
June 20, 2016

You caught me off guard with your remark, "Congratulations. You think just like Judas." Guilty. I have thought that very thing. Thank you for reminding me of the words of The LORD. And thank you for reminding me of the need for beauty in our world, especially during times of grief. You changed me perspective with this article.

David Greusel
June 21, 2016

Thanks to all for these thoughtful comments. I confess to not having considered a funeral overwhelmed with floral displays, but no doubt such a thing is possible. And donations in lieu of birthday gifts is a different matter altogether. I wouldn't object, as long as the celebrant is fully on board with the idea. Thanks again for these contributions--pun intended.

John
June 21, 2016

Flowers add a lot to a funeral, but when the family request "in lieu of" surely it is the right thing to honour the family's request, which may well have been the deceased wish.

Consideration should also be given to the fact that somebody has to dispose of the flowers, and some grieving families feel guilty when it comes to that.

And let's not single out Judas -- Matthew records in chapter 26 ALL the disciples asked the same question.

Joseph Giles
July 8, 2016

I disagree with the comparison between "in lieu of flowers" and Judas and you make my point for me when you acknowledge Judas' true heart about lining his own pockets. Judas' statement may have solicited a completely different response from Christ had Judas' heart been pure. However, we know it wasn't.

While there is nothing wrong with giving beautiful flowers at a funeral/memorial service, there is nothing wrong with requesting money otherwise spent on flowers (which wither and die) be used towards something that will make the gift last longer!

Margaret Couls
November 26, 2016

As someone said, maybe it was the wish of the deceased.My late husband was a preacher from the age of 19 til death at 55. His last 18 years as a disabled heart patient, he struggled to get enough Giant Print Bibles for nursing home and Bibles for teens in trouble.He mentioned this after a funeral . Therefore I promised him to ask for Bibles In lieu of flowers, I know not how many Bibles were given "to children who could read or Giant print to eldery" . But money was sent for me to purchase over 200 that I was blessed to give away at a retirement home "in memory of Walter P,Couls".

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