Betty and Ernie Lewin gave a Memorial Gift in remembrance of their son Bobby, who died on December 22 after being exposed to the elements during a severe winter storm. Bobby was making his way home from work. He didn’t make it home to his house that day, but he did made it to his better and eternal home to be with Jesus. Betty stopped by recently to give a gift for the purchase of a new glass communion cruet (pitcher). A gift was also given for the purchase of a funeral pall for our congregation. The House of Hansen in Chicago, specializing in ecclesiastical garments, custom tailored our funeral pall in a white cross fabric design of cotton rayon damask with Eminence Gold custom trim edged in gold metallic. The pall was delivered, and was on display on September 6 for its dedication, and also the following Sunday, September 13.
A funeral pall is a white drapery placed over the casket upon entry and procession of the casket to the front of the sanctuary. The pall reminds us of the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all our sin. As we were clothed in white garments in baptism and in confirmation, so at the end we are clothed in white again, covered from all sin and stain in Jesus. A remarkable gold cross spans the entire length of the pall signifying the complete triumph over sin and death by Jesus. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross we are saved from eternal death. Jesus has changed death from everlasting sorrow to the gateway of life eternal.
The pall serves to recall to our minds during our time of grief the greater realities of God’s promises in His Son Jesus. Though all we see and experience is death all around us, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We place the pall on the coffin as a confession of what we believe. “Christ has redeemed this body from sin and death and will raise this body on the last day.” We commit the body we bury to Jesus in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ who will change our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subdue all things to himself.
The funeral pall further serves to emphasize that we all come before God in the same way. Whether rich or poor, having a fancy casket or economical one, being a decorated saint or well-known sinner, we stand before God alike. All distinctions in our respective lives are set aside as we come to our common need of being sinners who rely on Jesus as the Savior from sin and death. The funeral pall directs us beyond the coffin to our triumphant hope in Jesus.
We might not be as familiar with the use of the pall, yet we have, for many years, known about “pall bearers.” We probably were not aware that this term came from the use of the funeral pall which a certain group of honorary individuals sometimes carried. The optional use of this garment will allow the opportunity to incorporate this meaningful symbol into the funeral service for those who so desire to use it.
In the passage from life to death we are accompanied by the symbols of death and resurrection. The name of Christ that we have borne in this life is draped over us again at the end. Enfolded with Christ by baptism into His death, we shall surely be clothed by Him in resurrection light.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” -- Revelation 7:13-17