A Message of Resurrection Hope
From Dr. Andrew L. McDonald
The resurrection is a central doctrine of the Christian faith and shapes Christians’ attitudes and responses to the event of death. In the face of death, Christians affirm with tears and joy the hope of the gospel. The church offers a ministry of love and hope to all who grieve.
Because it is difficult under emotional stress to plan wisely, Christians are encouraged to discuss and plan in advance the arrangements which will be necessary at the time of death. Christian options include cremation, burial or donation for medical purposes. Arrangements should be simple and should bear witness to resurrection hope. Westminster has been inspired to open a church columbarium as one faithful symbol of this hope.
In the book of Revelation, John’s dream depicts a marvelous image of the eternal home of God:
“It has a great high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes… And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” –Revelation 21: 12-14
The image of names inscribed on a foundation wall shows that even in its earliest days, it was important to the church to honor the people who had led the way. This type of remembrance has been carried forward through the establishment of what churches call a columbarium. It is a final resting place for cremated bodily remains. In the great cathedrals of the world as well as in early American churches, it is inspiring to see that those who lead the way are so fittingly honored in this way.
The columbarium is symbolic in a number of ways. In honoring the faithful saints who have shared their spiritual gifts with us, we also are inspired to live in response to Christ. It is a visible reminder of how spiritual gifts continue to endure and support the Christian community. As one favorite hymn puts it:
“How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in God’s excellent Word!
What more can be said than to you God hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?”
The columbarium symbolizes that these people were foundational for our continuing life in faith. What is more, it shows that this firm foundation endures.
The columbarium is also a place that reminds us of the breadth and number of the Christian communion of the saints. In the style of Presbyterian simplicity and dignity, it says to those who enter this sacred space, “Look and remember the many faithful who have witnessed as you do. Remember and celebrate God’s eternal love and heavenly dwelling place for all!” As in the thrilling hymn setting of Ralph Vaughn Williams:
“For all the saints who from their labors rest, Who Thee by faith before the who confessed Thy name O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia! Alleluia!”
In its dignity, its simplicity, and its enduring nature, the columbarium shows that we have entrusted our loved ones to God’s eternal care. In addition, it inspires those who view it to carry on the witness to faith we have in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
-Rev. Dr. Andrew McDonald
The individual niche dimensions are: 8 3/8″ wide by 12″ deep by 11″ high
Each niche can accommodate either one or two metal urns.
The full name of the deceased, with the years of birth and death, will be engraved on the face of the urn.
The inscription on the plate which seals the niche will include the name(s) of deceased and the date(s) of birth and death.
Flowers and fresh plant material will be allowed to be placed in the columbarium area.
Priority for purchasing niches shall be given to members of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, Nebraska.
To be paid at the time of purchase.
Contribution Niche Engraving Total
$3000 $250 $500 $3750
$3150 $250 $500 $3900 in three yearly payments ($1300, $1300, $1300)
$3250 $250 $500 $4000 in five yearly payments ($800, $800, $800, $800, $800)