I want to know how is it correct to proceed as Christians according to the Gospel when we are given alms for the dead? To receive or not receive what we are given?
Understand the concepts
The word “alms” comes from the Russian “pamiti” (memory) or “pominati” (to recall) and shows the significance ment by Christians initially, i.e to be a gift that is given in memory of a dead person, to remember him/her. The concept of commemoration degenerated considerably and came to be one more pagan than Christian, because many believe that when they “dole for one’s soul”, their gifts get in a miraculous way to the souls of the dead.
Behave with respect
Because you do not know what the one that gives alms to you means about it, it is important to clarify, but do so respectfully. Some evangelical Christians refuse categorically to receive alms without explaining and then people who wanted to give and who are, the most frequent cases, their relatives, they feel offended and humble. Be a wise man and behave yourself with all due respect. Rather than refuse the first time, you better take advantage of this opportunity and …
Share the Gospel
When I am invited to go to a burial feast, from the beginning I ask those who invite us to give us alms in the name of Jesus Christ and in the memory of the deceased person and to say exactly this when they give it. Almost always people ask surprised : “Why?”. Thus I can explain and tell them that I want them to say so because this is the significance of alms and let people not think that the things they receive in memory of the deceased can somehow get in a miraculous way to him in that world. And if they want to tell them how to reach the kingdom of heaven, and what they have to do for this, I will do this gladly.
Another time I was at a burial feast where we had not managed to tell them that beforehand and when they came to give me a knot-shaped bread with the lit candle and said: “Receive it for the soul of the certain person …” I took the candles and the bread and even then I said the following to people:
“Thanks for this alms that I get in the name of the Lord Jesus for commemoration of the deceased. She will not receive any food nor the light of the candles. But these two things have to remind us all present, that Jesus is the true Bread of life and that only through faith in Him and repentance we may have eternal life. The lit candle light is the true light that only Lord Jesus can give us. He said of Himself that He is the light of the world. Believe with all your heart in the Lord Jesus to have part of the true Bread of life and Light of the world! “
Usually it causes a good discussion when people ask more questions and I can explain in detail the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru