Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bringing Ashes Home

When Tuvaluan and other Islander Sailors die away from home, 
often their remains are cremated and sent ‘home’. 
Culturally, the rites and rituals associated with burial 
are disrupted and confused without a body and a coffin.
This prayer is for the many family and friends 
longing to welcome their loved one home.

An offering of root vegetables from the earth or dried coconut 
should be brought for burning to make ashes of welcoming.

God is made known to us
in the beach and the ocean.

God is made known to us
in the birth, the life, the death
and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God’s Spirit is made known to us
in the wind and the current,
in the song and the dance,
in the light and the fire.

Just as God created Adam from the sands,
we return to the sands.
Just as the gentle Spirit gives us breath,
we are embraced in the Spirit’s fire.

God has already welcomed the spirit of our brother/sister home into God’s heart.
Now it is time for us to welcome the ashes
of her/his body, home, to this island.

This is the place where feasts and celebrations were shared.
This is the place where learning and discovery were encouraged.
This was the earthly home for …………..(name).

We share the memories with (his/her) family.
We share our songs and weeping.

Just as these ashes have been returned to this home,
we light a fire from the bounty of this land.
Ashes from this offering will be placed
with the ashes sent home
as a sign of welcome and of faith
 – faith that God will make all things new again.

O God, you know the pain of death.
You also know the glory of resurrection.
Grant your Child, ………… (name), a place with you
and may we honour (her/his) memory
as we place the ashes in the sands of (her/his) home.


(C) 2017, A.Koh-Butler

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