should funerals be streamed online?

So this week the story is about a funeral director who believes that they should start live streaming funerals online for those who cannot attend.

Were as i see the sense in this, there is something in me that says…. “Is this just another way in which we are getting more and more distant as a society?”  I can see that if people physically cannot make the service that they could still take part by watching it online.  But how soon will it be that people start saying, “actually i will just catch it on line.”, even if they could have made the service?

I think it could well be a slippery slope, i mean what would happen if you asked for the time off work to go to a funeral, and your boss says, “No, watch it online instead!”

All of this does make me wonder what we are actually doing at a funeral in the first place?  For me I believe that there is an unspoken power in presence, in just physically being with someone in a time of great pain and loss. There is an ancient Jewish tradition of going round to someone’s house who was in great pain and just sitting with them in silence, until the tears came.

I also wonder if the way in which we grieve and have our funerals is the best way to do it, here is what happened in Jesus’ time and i suspect still does in the near east

The Mourning Process
Family and friends gathered for a very intense period of mourning involving loud expressions of sorrow and lamentation. Those who grieved frequently wore sackcloth mourning clothes, made of rough goat-hair fabric, as an expression of sorrow.
After the body was prepared, it was carried to the cemetery in a procession which included professional mourners hired to express the appropriate public grief. Often they were joined by someone playing the flute.
The period of mourning varied. Some believe that it lasted seven days as it does today in Orthodox Jewish tradition. However, a rabbinical document refers to the mourning period lasting three days, possibly because after this amount of time it was certain that the person was actually dead.
Following the sealing of the tomb, mourning continued for a total of thirty days.
Community Support
The home of the deceased was considered unclean during the mourning time; nothing could be prepared to eat in the home. Neighbours provided food or the family members went to neighbours? homes to eat, which provided a time of comfort and encouragement as the community helped the grieving family.
This extensive burial process served as a reminder of the many family members who had died in the past, and it made death a very significant part of community life.

One thing i do not think that we have been enlightened by in our society is death, i do think that other cultures do it better, and i fear we will end up doing it much worse if we bring in other excuses not to be there!

what do you think?


2 thoughts on “ should funerals be streamed online?

  1. Jen

    It already happens Ben, one of our 4 crems has live web streaming if a family ask for it. It’s not prooved as popular as they thought it would when they installed it. I’ve only been involved with 1 funeral where it has been used and that was when one of the grandchildren lived in Austrailia, and it seemed to help it that situation.

  2. Dexter

    We have streammed a funeral for a well knowen dr we streammed this live over 3 days and had over 5000 hits it was well promoted and this was the dr’s wish to have this done. we had lots of great feed back from people attending the funeral and from others watching via the internet. 🙂


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