Two Sundays back, I attended an unusual event: The mock funeral of a person still living! Half expecting it to be morbid, and half wishing it to be amusing, I came away surprisingly enlightened. On the stage was a white casket glowing in the spotlight, the rest of the auditorium was darkened for effect. The audience was mostly friends or relatives who came to honour the man, and support one who had obviously impacted (and was still impacting) their lives. Was he in the coffin? Nobody dared look. We waited in hushed whispers as if it was a real funeral! There was no laughter, no free flow of conversation, just nervous amusement as we waited surrealistically.
Then out he came… from behind the curtains! He thanked us all for coming. And told us this was one of his bucket list of things he wanted to do when he turned fifty. He wanted this to be the real “funeral” because when he died, there would be no funeral for us to attend except for a short one for his close family members. So this would be a doubly meaningful one, because it would be a time when he could enjoy the eulogies given, hear his favourite hymns sung, even see people shed real tears, and conversely honour some of the people who had come to honour him! I felt a bit strange initially…
But it was the use of this occasion for a double-edged celebration that won me. My initial unease faded as he creatively used the event to thank his parents who were in the audience, rolling out videos that highlighted the sacrifices they had made for him, the family and community. After eulogies by his mentees, friends and goddaughters, a short sermon was preached and people were invited to view the casket. In the coffin was not a corpse but a verse taken from Ecclesiastes 7:2 “For that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.” It was a crazy afternoon. But it provided for me, an object lesson in making sure I spoke love and appreciation of others while I still live. It also took away some of the rigor mortis from death.
上两周, 我出席了一个不寻常的仪式: 一场活人的模拟葬礼! 一部分出席者带着悲壮痛苦的气氛，另一半则盼望会是一场有趣的演出。异乎寻常地, 我竟然是从中带着启示离去。 仪式当天，台上摆放着白色棺木, 只有一道聚光灯打杂棺木上，礼堂周围灯光黑暗，气氛相当沉重。出席者都是他的亲戚朋友, 都是来致敬及支持这一位向来都在生命中震撼着他们的人。那，他在棺木里面吗? 并没有人敢探视。 就如真的葬礼般，我们低声细语地等待着! 场上没有笑声、没有人高谈阔论, 每个等待的人心中都觉得怪诞，感到既将经历一个紧张又惊异的事件。
不久候, 他从幕后。。。出现了! 他向每一位出席者致谢, 也给分享了这是他50岁时想完成的其中一项心愿。他想要把这场“葬礼”当真来办，因他死后除了亲近家属的简单追悼仪式外将不会有另外一场葬礼了。因此, 这场葬礼带来了双重意义, 因为他可以亲耳听见、亲身感受到大家赠与的悼念词、聆听喜爱的圣诗歌颂，看到大家为他流下的真心泪水, 以便向到来致敬的人致上谢意! 起初，我真的感到非常的奇异。
然而，吸引我的是，他巧妙地利用此个场面来打造一个双面的庆典。当他满有创意地借此机会向他在座席的父母表示心中的感激, 播放着父母亲对他无私的奉献、家庭和社群的付出和贡献短片, 我起初的不安便逐渐地消失了。接着他的导生、朋友和乾女儿致悼会词之后, 他也带来个简短的布道分享。 全部人都被邀请前来观看棺木。 在棺木中并没有摆放着尸体, 而是放着一段经文 ，传道书 7:2 “因为死是众人的结局 ，活人也必将这事放在心上 。” 这真是一个疯狂的下午。然而, 它却给了我一个相对客观的启示。那就是，在我活着的时候， 确保自己对周围的人诉说关爱与感激。这场仪式挪去了一些面对死亡的沉重感。
Philip Lyn 医生牧师