Dressing and Preparing the Body for Burial

Editor’s note: this is the latest in a series of posts about natural burial co-written by Kent Burreson and Beth Hoeltke. Their book on the subject, Death, Heaven, Resurrection, and the New Creation, was recently published by Concordia Publishing House.

In our last post we discussed “Preserving the Bodies of the Baptized Dead.” In other words, dispensing with embalming and instead choosing a more natural way, such as refrigeration, gel packs or dry ice, to keep the body cool. In all these ways preparing the body for its visitation, viewing, its disposition, or its final resting place.

Dressing and/or preparing the baptized body for burial can be as simple as wrapping the body in a shroud, often referred to as burial cloths. Shrouds are cloths that wrap or wind around the body. Shrouds can be a beautiful way to display the body. If you choose to wrap your loved one in a shroud, it will need to be biodegradable and the body must be wrapped from head to toe.

Another option would be to dress the body in traditional clothing. This might be a suit or dress etc., but would be something you believe your loved one would appreciate. You may choose to dress your loved one yourself or have a friend or funeral home personnel assist with this. Once the body has been clothed or shrouded it can be placed in a coffin or casket for a visitation or viewing. If there is no viewing, whether public or private, the body can be taken directly to the church for final rites.

Up to this point, hopefully you have been involved in some way in caring for your loved one’s body after death has occurred. But it is at this point in the burial process we say our final goodbyes. Yes, there is still the church service and the actual burial, but this is the last time you will be with the body of your loved one. Spend time with them and cherish this time, then say your final goodbyes.

In our next post, we will be discussing home visitations and/or home viewing options.

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