Dec 11, 2006

"Bring out your dead!"

One of my favorite scenes from "Monty Python's Holy Grail" is the scene of a cart being wheeled along medieval streets, while the cart
attendant calls out for the people living along the street to bring out the bodies of those who have died recently. This is an historically correct scene (especially during the Plagues). The joke in the film is that "gramps" isn't dead yet, but his "son" doesn't want to miss collection day. "Not dead yet!" says the old man. "You soon will be" says the young man, bribing the cart attendant to smash the old man's skull.

It takes on even more meaning (the collection of the dead, not the Python skit) when we realize that one of things the Early Christians were known for was removing the dead from the streets, and treating the human remains with great respect. The term "Christian Burial" was meant to draw a distinct difference between what Early Christians did with human remains, and how pagans of the time treated THEIR dead. The Christians appeared to treat dead pagans with the same care they treated their own. God's having taken form as a human in Jesus Christ made all flesh sacred to them.

Which brings me to the travelling museum show from Europe of human bodies that have been skinned and dissected for our "education" (and entertainment). I'm against it, and so are these people (click here).

Bring out your dead, indeed.

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