I have just come back from celebrating a funeral here on the Tiwi Islands.
It was that of a local young woman about 30 years of age.
The outburst of emotion and grief was very strong and powerful. The Tiwi culture does not hide emotional expression especially in times of grief.
At the conclusion of the requiem Mass, there were almost 3 hrs of ceremonial dancing.
Different family groupings performed dances around the casket.
The celebration of these various connections showed the value placed on relationships especially those involving family. The message is clear ‘you are not alone‘.
The other message is ‘we miss you terribly’.
I have reflected, at times how sterilised, we have become about death.
As I watched and reflected, I considered myself privileged to be so deeply connected with this culture.
It is good that while we need to appreciate our own culture, we need to stay open to that of others and to learn from them.
I could not but help but notice how deeply the message of Christ is appreciated by these people.
They are deeply spiritual and religious people. Very open to the Word of God.
The hope of Christ is for all peoples and cultures.
Whatever challenges we have He is always with us!
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