“Death is our inevitable fate. However hard we work to postpone it or try to deny it, we cannot escape it. Our mortality rate has consistently stood at precisely 100%. It is no wonder then that funerals are the most widely practiced human rituals. ‘Of all human events, death concerns us the most deeply’ (ANZPB, 811). The inevitability of death might suggest an equal inevitability about our response to death, but nothing could be further from the truth. How we approach death, how we mark it, what we believe about it, what we do with our dead, changes from generation to generation and from culture to culture. Within New Zealand, our response to death has changed radically in just the past few decades, and the changes keep coming, but amid them all, we keep having funerals.
Since its beginnings the Church has been deeply involved in people’s dying and response to death. It has made death its business. Indeed, its very life hinges on the death and burial of one man, who then rose from the dead. Funerals are an integral element of Christian ministry just as they are to human life. Yet, as with the rest of society, the Church has experienced such changes in this sphere that they might almost be described as seismic.”
From Chapter 1 — Introduction: A Changing Landscape, of Earthed in Hope: Dying, Death and Funerals – A Pakeha Anglican Perspective. By Alister G. Hendery.