Shhh … Jesus Just Showed up at Mt. Carmel Burying Ground

May 8, 2013
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Article from: Caleb Wilde, Confessions of A Funeral Director

Tribalism.  Revenge.  Egotism.  Oppression.  These are a few things that Jesus’s life and death stands against.

Jesus came with all the potential power that He wanted. He used it to heal the sick, raise the dead, touch the untouchable and heal the souls of the broken.  In fact, it’s not even the miracles that are amazing … what’s amazing is who he performed the miracles for.  The outcast.  The hated.  The enemy.

Yet, He was outcast, beaten, spit on, possibly raped (if was acceptable for soldiers to rape criminals) and eventually killed at the request of those he loved.  He could of … maybe even should have … destroyed His enemies … He had the power to, but He didn’t.

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Sin, revenge, egotism is cyclic … but so is love. With one act of grace (“Father, forgive them”), a new narrative has been born … again and again.

That narrative was reborn at the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground.

The deceased Boston Bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was accepted by Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors.  Stefan, who is seemingly putting his respect for the dead over and above his business’ prosperity, has been quoted as saying that everyone deserves a dignified burial, no matter the circumstances of their death.

As one may expect, Stefan’s funeral home has received numerous protests; and rightfully so.  The body his funeral home is housing is the deceased remains of a terrorist.  A terrorist whose actions injured 264 people and killed four; one of whom was a police officer, and the other a young child.  Not only did he accomplish this bombing, but he planned much more violence and destruction that one can only speculate he would have accomplish had he the chance to do so.

He was our enemy.  He killed an American child.  A beautiful son of our country.

An enemy whose body has been rejected by all the local cemeteries.  A body that has no place to rest.  And for good reason.  Could you imagine the grave desecration that would occur?  Could you imagine the curse that will reside over the cemetery that accepts a terrorist?

From a capital standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense for the cemetery to accept his body and lose future customers.  Who wants to be buried near a terrorist?

From a safety standpoint, it doesn’t make sense.  Cemeteries are already subject to vandalism and desecration, what more could happen if a terrorists body was interred in a place accustom to abuses?  Would the cemetery need to install security cameras?  People would vandalize his grave in the name of America.

Out of respect for those already buried and the families that buried them, a cemetery has reason to reject one Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  How can families feel good about the cemetery where their relatives reside when they are residing near a terrorist?

He was our enemy and must remain our outsider.  “Ship him back to where he came from!!!”, said some.  “Cremate his ass!” said others.  Perhaps the request to bury him in an unmarked grave was the most levelheaded suggestion; but, so far, no cemeteries have offered an unmarked grave for the terrorist.

And then on Tuesday morning, this piece of news comes out.  Paul Keane, the owner of a plot in the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground (and Yale Divinity graduate) wrote this on his blog:

I am willing to donate a burial plot next to my mother in Mt. Carmel Burying Ground to the Tsarnaev family if they cannot obtain a plot. The only condition is that I do it in memory of my mother who taught Sunday School at the Mt. Carmel Congregational Church for twenty years and taught me to “love thine enemy.”

I own the plot.  No one can refuse me access.

This is the cemetery lot that Paul is offering

So far, the response to Paul has varied between praise and protest.  And so it was 2,000 years ago.  Grace is always scandalous; but it’s also cyclic.

(NOTE: As of Wednesday morning, it’s still unclear whether or not the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors has accepted Paul Keane’s offer.  There is, however, an updated offer on Keane’s blog. )

Caleb Wilde

I'm a sixth generation funeral director. I have a grad degree in Missional Theology. And I like to read and write. Connect with my writing and book plans by "liking" me on facebook. And keep tabs with my blog via subscription or twitter.
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