Human beings aren’t immortal. We cannot avoid death and there’s no escape from it. At the end of the world, we shall be transformed into an undying soul. Now, we are very sure that some day we will also face death yet we are never confident to face it. Every human being is! The fear of death grips every man and scares us like a poison biting us. Our faith in Christ isn’t strong enough to heal the fear of death and our conscience also can never admit this. Jesus Christ however says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26) Our body which is created out of earth and which will return to earth can never reach heaven. But when the Holy Spirit makes us realize that death is the means to awaken our spirit which can reach heaven, that’s when the venom of death has no effect on us, what a wonderful experience this is!
Prior to existence of the Holy Church in 1984, Mizo Christianity could never declare victory over death, we used to mourn the death and Satan uses its venom to torment us with the fear of death. We covered our coffin with black cloth while carrying it to the cemetery which symbolizes our sadness and sorrow. But, among the elects (members of the Holy Church), since there is no death, we all sing along and praise the Lord on our funeral services. Even the family members of the deceased themselves praise the Lord by singing, “Though we consider it a curse, it makes us realize the love of God. He makes us rejoice at everything.” The feeling of loss and love still linger on without any feeling of mourning. The victory of Christ liberates us from the emotional worldly bonding with the one who died. Our culture of praising God is entirely different from the practice of denominational churches.
Even on our funeral, we do not mourn anymore, as we bid farewell to those who are going to New Jerusalem. We do not use a stretcher, we carry the coffin on our shoulder praising our Lord singing and dancing all the way to the graveyard following the path of Cross and never felt tired to praise Him. Even if the location makes it impossible to carry the coffin on shoulder, it can be transported by vehicle. The coffin is covered with white cloth and flowers are put on top to show our love and affection and also to declare that there is no more death among the elects. Our tradition of covering the Coffin with white cloth is imitated by denominational churches in Mizoram, no churches now cover coffin with black clothes.
We pay respect to the deceased soul who has finished his journey in this world. Their family members also witness the departed soul going to the heavenly world enhancing their dedication and love to God. ‘Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up,’ (John 11:11). We know for sure that they will rise up on the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that we are all going to meet again by the feet of our God. Hence, faith has bestowed upon us the joy and gladness instead of grief; a song of praise instead of sorrow.
In the cemetery, there is no function or any ceremony. We never see Jesus bidding farewell on the Bible to the departed because for Him there is no death. In the finished dug graveyard, the coffin is slowly drop using a rope and with full respect and love we bid farewell to our brother/sister in Christ to lay asleep on earth until we meet again on the rising day. All the while when the youth cover the graveyard, the crowd wholeheartedly sing and dance praising the Lord, just like the army bid farewell the praiseworthy departed who die in the battlefield or in the hands of the enemy, we bid farewell to our beloved brother/sister with full respect and love.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)