For a few weeks I have reflected on the pall used at funerals.
In my church tradition, there never was a pall place over a coffin. You got to see the full glory of the coffin, or its paucity. I have never been one to really notice – especially since in a short while the coffin will be covered in dirt and no one will care.
But often someone does care. Greedy funeral homes will want you to buy an expensive casket – your loved one deserves it. Families will look for a sturdy and air tight coffin. Some will want the impression the loved one carried during their life reflected in their coffin.
Until you arrive in a church where the coffin is draped in a pall prior to the service and during the service.
The pall is “a fine cloth” “often velvet for spreading over the coffin.”
In many ways this makes us all equal in death. The pall is the property of the church where the loved is memorialized and the funeral service takes place. Regardless of who you are, your coffin will appear the same as the previous coffin, and the same as at the next funeral.
Not a bad symbol of unity, regardless of how diverse a congregation may be.