Caskets and Mattresses and the Price of Death
I am taking a class in death and dying. It is fascinating to learn all the different cultural and religious beliefs around this subject. We are studying funeral traditions, and I read that caskets come in varying price ranges. One of the price determinants is the quality of the mattress on which the deceased is laid to rest. Cheaper caskets get straw mattresses; expensive caskets get spring coil mattresses and luxurious fabrics. Caskets and mattresses show your wealth and social prestige even in death.
This really bothers me. A dead person “sleeps” on a mattress made for royalty while many living people sleep on dirt or concrete. Does this bother anyone else?
Death and Social Status
I think it is quite shameful to make such a show of social status even when one dies. I know this is an ancient practice. The Mayans and Egyptians went to elaborate measures to bury their royalty and others of high social standing.The Mayans buried their dead with clay statues and other symbols of their wealth. The Egyptians perfected the practices of embalming to the point of mummification.
Egyptian high status mummies were laid to rest in the most expensive caskets- coffins made of gold. Millions of Egyptian slaves labored to build tombs for the golden coffins of the kings, tombs so elaborate that they became a wonder of the world, the Egyptian pyramids. Ironically, many of these poor slaves died while building a death chamber for the rich. How many people today are poor and dying because the more fortunate want to build their corporate pyramids of globalism, their “pyramid schemes?”
But even with all the money in the world, and the finest caskets and mattresses, these CEOs still must die and meet their Maker.
The Money Game of the Casket and Cradle
It is a very expensive proposition to die in this society. Ironically, it is also a very expensive proposition to be born in this society.
You are born in a flurry of money and you die in a flurry of money. The richer your family, the nicer your cradle and your casket. Some of the poor are born in mangers and are buried in common graves. The ruling elite have fixed the game so that even spiritual transitions are taxed.
If you aren’t good at the game, or if you decide that you do not want to play, you end up sleeping on the dirt- in life and in death. Some places still dig common graves for the paupers. Morgues in the United States are filled with unclaimed bodies because the families cannot afford caskets and mattresses, or afford cremation, or afford a funeral at all. It is tragic. (Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue.)
Yet there is room for hope. The money game ends at death, and a spiritual accounting takes place. All the money in the world will never buy your soul. You may not be resting so comfortably on that spring mattress when you have to meet your Maker. Remember, Jesus said that in the next world, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, and blessed are the meek and humble in spirit for they shall see God.
What will your casket and mattress say about your relationship with Jesus?