Where is the body? – Funeral liturgy as catechesis
Minnich, Nathan Corl
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The funeral is a liturgical expression of the church, visible and participatory in the public arena, and is therefore an excellent opportunity for catechesis. In the observation of funerals from the perspectives of funeral director and clergy, this study and parish resource provide a framework for understanding the value of the body in this catechesis and an opportunity to begin dialog between the three significant voices in funeral planning, namely the clergy, the funeral director, and the congregational member. By use of the parish resource, a dialog can be led with the intention of answering the vital questions surrounding the body’s place in liturgical function, the proclamation of the resurrection of the body with a Lutheran historical understanding, and the catechetical use of the liturgy itself for conveying the faith of the church to those present. These points are made using historical sermons and documents of Martin Luther and his contemporaries. The deep connection between the real presence of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist and the presence of the physical body at the funeral mass is vital to the presentation of what the church proclaims about death and resurrection of that body.