We live in the shadow of a tsunami. As of Wednesday, 28,000 have died in the US from COVID-19. The bodies pile up so quickly that those who care for the deceased cannot keep up. Last week, New York City Councilman Mark Levine tweeted the news that coronavirus victims will temporarily be interned in city parks to help morgues, hospitals, and cemeteries cope with the death toll (currently more than 10,000 New Yorkers have died due to COVID-19). “Trenches will be dug for ten caskets in a line,” Levine said.

This last week was predicted to be the “peak death week” for the US coronavirus outbreak, though various US regions and other countries have yet to face the foreboding summit. Worldwide, as of Wednesday, the coronavirus pandemic has taken 133,000 from our numbers and infected over 2 million. Projections show that as much as half of the world’s population could catch COVID-19 by August.

We also just celebrated Holy Week, remembering Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. In Christ’s life, we remember that divinity entered into a human body, which shows us that bodies—even deceased bodies—matter. In his death, we remember that our bodies are fragile, mere organic matter like all living things. In his resurrection, we remember that our lives extend beyond a mere physical reality into the age to come.

In this season, as in any natural disaster, death norms have been upended. Evangelicals typically prefer burial to cremation, according to a theological journal. But the pandemic has disrupted how everyone deals with their dead—in New York City and around the world, with cremation emerging as a more practical option. In Wuhan, China, the ground zero of the ...

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